It's been one week since the Fauquier Foxes 17-and-under girls basketball team returned from the AAU national tournament in Texas, and forward Britani Carter already has forgotten the names of the teams and the scores of the games the Foxes played. What she does remember, however, is just how tall their opponents were.
"We were outsized in most of our games. All the teams were taller and had more people," said the 5-foot-11 Carter, who graduated from Liberty High school in June. "The second team we played [Arizona Elite] had this girl who was 6-7. She made [Woodbridge High School graduate] Orion Wake look my height, and Orion's 6-3."
This was the fifth and final national tournament together for the Foxes. Three of the team's players--Carter, Fauquier graduate Tera Walker and Notre Dame graduate Jessica Wilber--have played for Coach Greg Carter (no relation to Britani) since they were 11 years old.
Fauquier lost its first game to North Tartan (Minn.) and its second game to eventual champion Arizona Elite. In the consolation tournament, the Foxes fell to Florida Gold Coast Lady Players by three points before beating the Houston Hotshots by 13 points.
"It was kind of a wake-up call. All of us are going to play in college, and a lot of the teams we faced [in Texas] are the size of what we'll see in college," said Britani Carter, who will play for Queens (N.C.) College next year. "We got to see what it'll be like playing against them. . . . It wasn't a bittersweet ending because we won our last game. We learned a lot, too."
Coach Carter agreed with his player. "It was a good experience for the kids. Now they know what they need to work on in college," he said.
Leesburg Lady Cougars Climb Fast
The Leesburg Lady Cougars 12-and-under girls basketball team has been playing together for only four months, but already the Lady Cougars have a national tournament appearance under their belts. Leesburg played in the Youth Basketball of America (YBOA) National Tournament earlier last week in Polk County, Fla.
The Lady Cougars lost all six of their games in Florida; the girls were, admittedly, a little awed by playing in their first national tournament, Coach Brian Hysan said. But the team accomplished its main goal of gaining valuable experience.
"Our program is at such a young stage--the girls don't really know each other yet, and they're getting used to playing with each other--that we knew we would have to take our licks," Hysan said. "My hope was that the girls came away enlightened about what basketball at the national level is like. . . . If anything, they know that if they bring their game face, they can play with the best in the country."
Judy Alzine, Jackie Balla, Brittany Ferrell, Brittany Gordon, Denise Hommell, Brittany Johnson, Lauren Johnson, Tanya Traeger, Brittany Russell, A.J. O'Banion and Amanda Whitfield made the trip to Florida with the Lady Cougars. Leesburg qualified for the national tournament by finishing fifth in the state tournament.
The 15-and-under Fauquier Knights, who are also making their first appearance in a national tournament, finished undefeated in pool play at the YBOA tournament. Fauquier beat Costa Rica, 60-22, Sunday; the Meteors (Fla.), 48-36, Monday; and the Rebels (Ga.), 53-35, Tuesday.
The Knights dropped their first game in the double-elimination portion of the tournament, losing to the Tar Heels (Tenn.), 58-52, Thursday. The tournament concluded yesterday . Five Liberty High School players--Jen Olinger, Randi Jones, Jenny Gray, Regina Ford and Krystal Hermes--and two Fauquier players--Katie Moore and Allyson Rugge--are on the team.
Park View Duo in All-Star Game
Park View's Nick Smith and Jeff Schwalm have been selected to play in the Jelleff League All-Star game Friday at 8 p.m. at the Jelleff Boys and Girls Club in Northwest Washington. Smith, a rising junior, started at point guard for the Patriots last year, earning first-team all-Liberty District honors. The 6-foot-7 Schwalm, a rising senior, also started for the Patriots in the winter.
The Jelleff League is one of the area's oldest summer basketball leagues and features teams from public and private schools in Virginia, Maryland and D.C.
CAPTION: Jessica Wilber (5) played in fifth, final national AAU tournament with Fauquier Foxes, which had three members--Wilber, Tera Walker and Britani Carter--who have played for Coach Greg Carter since they were 11.
CAPTION: Tera Walker, who recently graduated from Fauquier High School, was part of Fauquier Foxes AAU team that went 1-3 in national tournament.
CAPTION: "All the teams were taller and had more people," Liberty graduate Britani Carter (34) said of Foxes' opposition in Texas AAU tournament.