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Girls varsityBoth the Fluco girls’ basketball team and its opponents, the Western Albemarle Warriors, came into the game on Jan. 17 with records of 10-5, according to MaxPreps, a sports scoring website. The Flucos were not intimidated by the fact that the Warriors topped them earlier in the season by a wide margin. Instead they came out strong and grabbed a 12-4 lead after one quarter and led virtually the entire game, winning 38-32. Senior guard Chaniya Brown led the way with 16 points.

Fluco head coach Chad White preaches defense, defense, and more defense. The Flucos showed that they have absorbed the message. In the first quarter against Western Albemarle, they allowed only two baskets in eight minutes of intense play.  The scoring in the quarter opened with Brown nailing a three-point shot. Brown then hit freshman forward Mya Wright with a nice pass for a lay-up. Freshman point guard Nevaeh Ivory followed quickly with a put back basket and the Flucos were up 7-0. The Warriors were on their heels, but they responded with two baskets to make it 7-4. Late in the quarter, Ivory hit from long range and Brown scored on a lay-up for the 12-4 result.

The Flucos were not alone in playing aggressive defense. The Warriors, who spent most of the game in a three-quarter court press, had a strong defensive quarter in the second period. The Flucos only scored four in the quarter and Western Albemarle closed the gap to three points. The Flucos were up 16-13 at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Flucos showed their grit. The quarter started with freshman guard Jules Shepherd scoring on a rebound to give the Flucos an 18-13 lead. Western bounced back with a seven-point run to forge what would be their only lead of the night at 20-18 with 3:30 left in the quarter. However, at this point, the Flucos had gone a long time without putting up many points and it looked like the Warriors were going to have their way again.

But the Flucos were not done. Shepherd, not the tallest player on the floor, scored again on a rebound to tie the score, and Brown hit another three-point shot to put the Flucos back in the lead for good. Ivory, the point guard, hit Brown, the shooting guard, with a lovely pass for a lay-in and the Fluco were back in charge at 25-20. The Flucos led after three quarters at 27-23.
The fourth quarter was a back and forth struggle. The Flucos determinedly held on to the lead. The Warrior defense became more and more frantic as the clock wound down, but Ivory and Brown were unfazed by the pressure and continually managed to beat the press. Once the ball was safely in the front court, the Fluco offense played deliberately to milk the clock and protect the lead. The big plays for the Flucos were another three-point basket by Brown and another outstanding pass by Ivory, this time to junior post player Jemika Johnson for a lay-up.

The Flucos were not to be denied and they won by six, the biggest margin they had all game.  Brown was the only Fluco to score in double figures. Ivory and Shepherd added six apiece. Brown and Ivory led the team in rebounds with six and five respectively.

After the game, White said he is pleased to see his players developing and improving. Four of his first eight players are freshman. He especially noted that Ivory is making good progress. Her poise against the intense Warriors pressure was especially impressive for a freshman, he said. White was especially happy to see his team bounce back against the Warriors. He noted that his team had played poorly when they traveled to Western Albemarle early in the year.

The Flucos hosted Heritage High on Jan. 18 and traveled to Orange County on Jan. 20. They host Albemarle High School on Jan. 24. They travel to Monticello High on Jan. 27 and they return home to host Charlottesville on Jan. 31. The final game of the regular season is on Feb. 3 at Powhatan.