It wasn’t a flawless finish by any means. The Albemarle girls basketball didn’t make every free throw and close the door on Fluvanna County easily in Monday’s Jefferson District semifinals.
But they made a lot of the little plays that they had to make down the stretch like Jaime Rademacher swiping a pass in the paint and Amaya Pendelton outrunning a Fluvanna player for a long rebound. Make enough of those, and you can win a 35-30 defensive struggle and a shot at a tournament championship Tuesday.
You can also show off just how much the Patriots — who have several freshmen and a sophomore in the rotation — have grown up this year.
“(They’ve grown up) so much,” said Albemarle coach Rachel Proudfoot. “That’s why we play teams like Spotswood and even the pain that we went through at Patrick Henry-Roanoke a few weeks ago, there’s been so much growth. They’re fighting through points in the game instead of putting their head down. They’re picking their head up.”
Albemarle’s defense stayed locked in despite the two drastically different paces that Fluvanna threw at them — an uptempo look to start the game and a slow-it-down approach after Albemarle met the initial challenge and started the game on an 8-0 run. No matter what the Flucos did, Albemarle had an answer defensively.
“We really had to pinch in so they couldn’t drive and rebounding was key,” said Albemarle freshman Sylvie Jackson. “They’re a really fast-paced team and when they slowed down it really helped us.”
Meanwhile, Rademacher scored enough to make that defensive effort stand up, scoring 11 points on the night, with six of those 11 coming in the fourth. MarQuelah Wilson chipped in nine and Jackson finished with eight.
The Patriots didn’t knock down all their foul shots, but their 17-for-23 performance at the line did make a huge difference, especially with Fluvanna struggling there, going 7-for-18.
“Everything worked out except going 7-for-18 from the free throw line, that kills you,” said Fluvanna coach Chad White.
Nevaeh Ivory finished with 13 points to lead the Flucos while Mya Wright had seven.
The Patriots will square off with Charlottesville in the Jefferson District title game Tuesday before taking on Mountain View Friday in the Region 5D quarterfinals. The Flucos qualified for the Region 3C tournament as the No. 7 seed and will face off against No. 2-seeded Charlottesville Friday night.