Western Albemarle girls basketball knew what kind of senior leadership it had coming into this year. The Warriors also knew what they were capable of because they’d laid the foundation.
“There was a lot of work went into this,” said Western senior Elisabeth Coffman. “We had a lot to play for tonight and I thought we played really well as a team.”
Western beat Fluvanna County 51-42 Tuesday night to complete a 14-0 run through the Jefferson District regular season slate for the first time since 2011. The Warriors (20-2) did it in typical fashion, taking a sizeable lead, holding off a rally and charge from the opposition and then closing Fluvanna out down the stretch.
Sydney Sherman posted a double double with 14 points and 12 rebounds while Coffman stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, nine assists, four blocks and three steals. Caity Driver notched 12 points and six boards with eight of those points coming in the second half. Her bucket in the fourth quarter helped Western stop the bleeding as Fluvanna surged and cut the lead to five.
“It was just players making a play, Sydney got an offensive rebound and then fed Caity for a lay-up,” said Western coach Kris Wright. “That was finally what gave us enough.”
Western stretched the lead back out and held on as Fluvanna went cold from the field down the stretch. That kind of steadiness and ability to withstand the storm has been a hallmark of the Warriors’ unbeaten run with seniors Coffman, Ellie Plantz, Annie Meenan and Hannah Leeb.
“I think all the way back to the Albemarle game when we pulled it out in the last 10 seconds, I said back then I love seniors,” Wright said. “They know what’s going on, they’ve been through this and they know what to do. They can set the tone for everyone else.”
It doesn’t hurt that some of his juniors like Sherman and Driver have a senior-level of experience, giving the Warriors veterans throughout the lineup. Coffman concurred, that Western had to have dig itself out of some tough circumstances. Getting to 14-0 takes being locked in or overcoming not being completely locked in night in and night out.
“It’s by the grace of God though,” Coffman said. “There were a lot of games that didn’t go our way but we pulled through. Win or lose, we go to dinner, coach is always saying that so I’m glad it’s on the win side more often than not.”
Meenan and Plantz each had three steals and three boards.
Fluvanna County’s rally was an excellent sign for a team fighting for second place with Charlottesville in the Jefferson District. Instead of rolling over after going down as much as 17 points, the Flucos battled, with Nevaeh Ivory scoring eight of her 19 points in the fourth while Mya Wright knocked down a big three to slice into the lead.
“The way we play allows us to get back in so we’ll continue to press and hopefully that’ll speed them up,” said Fluvanna coach Chad White.
When Ivory is locked in, it changes the entire complexion of the Flucos’ squad.
“She’s worked her tail off,” White said. “She worked, because that was not her last year. She’s more confident because of the work she put in in the summer time.”
It took her a few quarters, but Ivory was a one-woman fastbreak in the fourth, blasting down the floor and finishing a couple of critical lay-ups to get Fluvanna back in striking distance. Jules Shepherd bolstered the Flucos’ offensive effort with 10 points.