Western Albemarle girls hold off Fluvanna in season opener

Photo by Bart Isley

Playing a team with five games under their belt already, with a ton of new faces in the lineup, and now the entire team wearing face masks during the game, the Western Albemarle girls basketball team had a lot to adjust to during their first game of the season.


“That is a program specific thing.” Western head coach Kris Wright said of the masks. “The studies show that it is somewhat safer, but also right now there are other teams in our region wearing masks in games.”


Western needed near perfect execution down the stretch with all the new factors going into this game and after relinquishing a double-digit lead, the Warriors did just that holding off a scrappy Fluvanna team, 54-48.


Mattie Shearer, a Duke lacrosse signee, scored 14 points in the first half to help Western to a comfortable lead.


“This is her third year of varsity, and her second year as the full time point guard where she’s handling a lot of the decisions,” Western head coach Kris Wright said of the senior guard. “Her ability to not get tired, and to just keep coming and keep coming, that comes with its ups and downs sometimes but we think on the balance it usually works to our favor just to let her play as hard as she can.”


Shearer hit a jumper at the first quarter buzzer and came up with numerous hustle plays that really spearheaded a balanced Western attack in the first half, but Fluvanna fought to stay in it and only trailed 27-20 at the end of the 2nd.


The Flucos made a big run at the end of the third, led by Alana Carter-Johnson. She scored 10 in the quarter including a huge three to pull within four. Ava Ewen then hit a monster three for Western at the buzzer to keep the Warriors ahead by seven, 41-34. That basket proved to be big down the stretch because the Flucos almost snatched the win.


Aniah Webb canned a corner three, her first bucket of the game, for Fluvanna with three minutes left to tie things up at 45. The three capped a 11-4 run tracing back to the third for the Flucos. Western’s Karina Long promptly hit an and one but missed the free throw to put the Warriors up 47-45. Fluvanna then missed the front end of a one and one and Long sank two free throws at the other end for a four point lead with 1:19 to play.


Webb nailed another three for Fluvanna to bring it back to one, but Western’s Dylan Mitchell answered with an and one of her own to help Western pull away.


“Credit to Fluvanna, they made a couple big shots at the end,” Wright said.  “I have a feeling a lot of games this year are gonna be like that.”


Mattie Shearer scored 18 total for the Warriors (1-0, 1-0). Kate Wallace put together a big night for Western too with a double double, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.


For Fluvanna (2-4, 1-4) Alana Carter-Johnson scored a game high 19. KeKe Davis-Heinriech notched nine. Abby Seal added 7 for Fluvanna.