Young Judges girls top Falcons 33-21
WINCHESTER — With a very young and inexperienced roster Handley girl’ basketball coach Marvin Scott knows this season is going to be full of peaks and valleys.
Handley starts three freshman and its roster of 11 also contains two sophomores and a pair of juniors, and as expected there have been a few lessons already with two losses in the first three games.
Following a humbling road loss at Washington (W.Va.) Friday night, the Judges were hoping to rebound when they returned home to take on non-district foe Fauquier Monday night.
Behind a pair of those freshman the Judges did just that.
Alysandra Worrell scored a game-high 13 points while classmate Angelica Robinson and senior Tomekia Waller each added eight points apiece to give the Judges just enough offense to knock off the Falcons 33-21 at Handley’s Maddex-Omps Gymnasium.
“We’re in the process of learning our roles. I think after we get a couple games under our belts and understand the game we'll be fine,” Scott said. “It’s the lack of majority that we have at this point and that shows. We have some kids that have some athletic ability. The season is going to hinge on whether we learn from each game and some of the games we’re going to play we’re not going to come out too sweet. Can we overcome that? It’s a learning process.
“Any win’s a good win. To win at home and after coming off the 29-point loss (to Washington Friday night). Tonight gives them a ray of hope and shows they can get better, we’ll be fine. I enjoy these kids, this is a great group of kids.”
The game started out like there was a lid on the basket for both teams, with a flurry of missed shots and turnovers.
Not until Fauquier’s Samantha Cooper (team-high 10 points) hit a free throw at the 5:15 mark could either team get on the board. And the game remained 1-0 until Cooper hit a short jumper to make it 3-0 with 2:55 showing on the clock.
Handley (2-2) finally broke its scoring drought on a fast break layup by Worrell with 1:53 left in the frame to make it 3-2.
On the next trip down the floor Cooper buried a 3-pointer to push the lead to four at 6-2, but the Judges answered. Over the last 90 seconds of the quarter the Judges outscored the Falcons 4-2 behind field goals from Worrell and Robinson to close to within 7-6 at the end of one.
The Judges continued the run to start the second. Worrell hit a layup and was fouled on the play, giving the Judges their first lead of the game. Her free throw made it 9-7 with 7:42 left in the half and they wouldn’t give up the lead the rest of the night.
Worrell continued her dominance of the Falcons with a pair of steals and short hoops to continue the run and push the lead to 13-7 midway through the period.
Fauquier (1-2) missed 32 shots and turned the ball over nine times in the first half alone, but still was in the game when it finally broke its scoring drought at the 2:02 mark of the period on a field goal by Katlyn Manson closing the gap to 13-9.
Handley closed the half on a 4-0 run, all coming from Waller, to push the advantage to 17-9 at the break, and it would need every bit of that lead in the second half.
Just as they did in the first quarter the Judges came out cold to start the third quarter and it took them six minutes to get back on the board.
All the while the Falcons were clawing back into the contest until Cooper capped a 7-0 run with a short jumper that made it 17-16 with 3:16 to play in the third.
Faced with a second-half adversity they have yet to experience, the Judges responded like champions.
Back-to-back fast break baskets by Hannah Long and Robinson were followed by another basket by Waller that gave the Judges a 6-0 run to end the third, pushing the lead back to a more comfortable 23-16 advantage.
It was a run that appeared to take the wind out of the Falcons and their offense started to get more out of sync as they started forcing the action to try to get back into the contest.
The Judges opened the fourth with a 6-2 run which gave them their biggest lead of the game at 29-18 midway through the period. Handley outscored the Falcons 10-5 in the final eight minutes and pushed the lead to 12 with a pair of free throws by Robinson with less then a minute to play.
“I like their heart, when they came close we responded.” Scott said. “Once they understand that it’s a process and it’s not going to happen overnight we’ll be fine.
“I can see where they can get better and they can’t. We need to work on our fundamentals but we’ll be fine. Back to the drawing board we go tomorrow. We’re so young, and it’s not just age wise, it’s basketball knowledge.”