Lady Falcons show improvement

Published 11:01 am Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Fuqua School’s varsity girls basketball team looks significantly different from a year ago and lacks experienced players, but new Head Coach Mike Ford is pleased by the girls’ progress and is preaching patience as they develop.

Ford joins the team fresh off helping lead the Lady Falcons varsity softball team to the state championship game in 2017.

“I like basketball as much as softball,” he said.

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He served as head coach of the girls middle school team in Powhatan for seven years and the boys middle school team for one year.

At the same age level, he also coached girls Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball for several years and his son’s AAU team for a year.

He now takes on the challenge of coaching high school basketball and has some familiar faces to work with as five of his 11 players are girls he coached on Fuqua’s 2017 softball team. He lacks players, however, for whom basketball is their primary sport.

“They play softball, I think I have a couple lacrosse players, and a couple of them do some other things,” he said. “We play some of these schools in softball, so my girls spent all summer and fall and winter playing softball, which is why we have a good softball team. And then we’ll go play teams, and they’ve got girls that play basketball all year-round.”

The Lady Falcons (0-5) have struggled so far on the hardwood, averaging only 17 points per game.

“But in fairness, we’ve played some pretty good teams,” Ford said.

The opponents have included The Miller School of Albemarle, the four-time defending Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II state champion, as well as some other top teams in the state.

But despite the difficulties, Ford said, “I’m real pleased with the girls’ progress. They’re working hard.”

He praised the group of two seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen for having come a long way in a short amount of time.

“I expect us to improve every time we play, and we have,” he said. “… And I think as time goes on, I’d like to see us get some wins out of this.”

As for standouts, Ford said the team has had a variety of different top scorers.

Fairly consistently, the starting lineup features senior point guard Alexa Marzloff, sophomore shooting guard Abbie Schmidt, freshman forward Sophie Watson, sophomore forward Carmen Reynolds and junior center Hannah-Gray Schmidt.

Fuqua visits Holy Cross Regional Catholic School on Thursday at 6 p.m.