By Ben Sheridan / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor
Every team wants to start strong. An optimal start for a team is to completely play out their game plan, build a big early lead and then keep the opponent at arm’s length the rest of the way.
That is exactly what the William Monroe girls basketball team did when they travelled to Fluvanna on Monday night. Behind 24 points and six boards from Martha Apple, the Dragons jumped out early and won 62-43 for the squad’s seventh win in a row in what has been an impressive January.
“I think we came out guns blazing and came out strong like we wanted to,” Apple said.
The Dragons seemed to be in total control from the opening tip-off. They scored on their first possession, and found ways to score from the fast-break and getting to the foul-line. Hailey Morris also provided a huge lift offensively with her usual dose of perimeter shooting, drilling three three-pointers in the opening frame while putting up 11 of her 14 total points. Monroe’s defense was firing on all cylinders as well, giving them a 21-9 lead going into the second quarter.
The Flucos fought their way back into the game in the second quarter with tough, physical play, and found a way to get to the free-throw line themselves. In the second, the Flucos went 11-for-12 from the line. Nevaeh Ivory helped lead the team with six of her 11 points coming from the second. That effort cut the Dragons’ lead to just 34-26 at the break.
“We were talking about how we needed to calm down and get back into our rhythm, we let them speed us up a little bit,” Apple said. “Basketball is a game of runs and we knew we needed to take back control and play our game.”
That’s exactly what the Dragons did, as they slowed the game down and played some great defense. On offense, they showed patience, waiting to find great looks, but also not being afraid to run on fast-break opportunities. That sparked the Dragons to a 48-32 lead at the end of the third, and things never got much closer than that.
The Dragons kept controlling the game in the fourth, especially on the defensive end of the floor, as they allowed only eight points in the final frame. Pair that with some patience on offense, and Monroe walked away with a solid but important win.
“We kind of had a lapse in the second quarter, but we got it together for the third quarter and we’re a third quarter team, and that helped us come out on top,” Apple said.
Morris chipped in eight assists and five rebounds to go with her 14 points. Iyanna Carey had eight points, two rebounds, two steals and two assists. Chloe Rush notched six points, five boards, two assists and two blocks while Ella Weaver had six points, three rebounds and two blocks.
Fluvanna’s Jules Shepherd had eight points while Kyia Scott had six and Maggie Wentz had five.
Both teams have Tuesday games with Monroe hosting Warren County, and Fluvanna going on the road to Albemarle.