When you’ve got a young roster — at one point Tuesday night, Fluvanna girls basketball had four sophomores and a freshman on the floor — there are a pretty obvious set of stepping stones on the way to becoming a seasoned group.
A big road win over one of the Jefferson District’s top teams is certainly one of them.
The Flucos picked up a critical win over Western Albemarle in a defensive struggle in Crozet Tuesday, edging the Warriors 31-29.
“That’s a tough place to play,” said Fluvanna assistant Nick Ward. “Winning at Western is never an easy task.”
Scoring wasn’t an easy task for either team Tuesday as both defenses stepped up. At the end of the first quarter, Western led 7-4 and the Warriors held a 17-11 advantage at the break. Things didn’t improve much for the Flucos in the third quarter as they scored just seven pints in the frame but held the Warriors to just three points. Western led 20-18 heading into the fourth.
It was then that the Flucos put together a major push, scoring 13 points in the fourth including a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers by Nevaeh Ivory. Ivory, a second team All-Jefferson District pick last year, has clearly started to emerge as one of the Flucos’ go-to players and she certainly played like it in the final frame, scoring eight of her 10 points in the fourth.
“She felt like this was a statement game,” Ward said.
It became a statement game for the Flucos as a team as they held together for all 32 minutes despite trailing by six points at halftime after also enjoying the last day of school before winter break.
“At halftime (head coach) Chad (White) said ‘we did a great job focusing for 16 minutes, now we’ve gotta do 16 more’,” Ward said. “We’re taking baby steps.”
Jules Shepherd took some of those steps in a big way. She drew the difficult assignment of marking Western’s Elisabeth Coffman, who finished with six points and was held scoreless in the fourth. Shepherd also chipped in five crucial points as Fluvanna played without key scorer Kyia Scott in most of the second half after a third quarter injury.
The Flucos’ Destini Moore, a freshman, also came up big, hitting a pair of fourth quarter free throws. Jemika Johnson scored nine points for the Flucos in the win.
Western couldn’t overcome its third quarter stumble and while they fought back against the Fluvanna surge in the fourth with nine points in the frame, dropped their second game of the season, falling to 5-2 overall. Shannon Moore managed eight boards while Coffman had six rebounds and four assists. Western committed 17 turnovers as a team, a 10-turnover jump from their win over Albemarle last Friday.
The Flucos have one more game this week as they host William Monroe Friday while Western will take on Massaponax to open the Holiday Tournament December 27.