The Fauquier High School girls basketball team nearly clawed its way back from a 16-point, second-half deficit Tuesday night before falling to host Brooke Point, 53-44, in a AAA Commonwealth District game.
Katherine Gaudreault's jumper in the lane with 3 minutes 6 seconds to play cut the Black-Hawks' lead to 45-42, but the Falcons (3-4 overall, 1-3 in district play) could not get any closer as Brooke Point (7-4, 5-0) made six free throws in the final 1:12 to ensure victory.
"We have to cut down on our mental errors," said Fauquier Coach Rolando Bell. "We struggled at times offensively, and we got antsy. It took us time to get settled and execute."
Turnovers on three consecutive possessions turned into Black-Hawk points, and when Michelle Barnes scored off a feed from Abbey Cunningham less than two minutes into the third quarter, Brooke Point owned its largest lead, 39-23.
That's when forward Katie Moore got mad and tried to get even. The 5-foot-8 senior atoned for her earlier turnovers in the quarter by making three steals, and Gaudreault added three steals and four points in a 15-2 run that brought Fauquier within 41-38 with a minute to play in the third.
Bell attributed the Fauquier comeback to defense. "We were aggressive and played hard," he said.
Perhaps a little too hard.
Moore picked up her fourth foul with 1:04 to play in the third quarter. Then, after sitting for the opening three minutes of the final quarter, Moore picked up a loose ball, drove down the court and made a pass but picked up a charge, and the Falcons' best ballhandler was gone with 4:21 to play.
But Bell had nothing but praise for her.
"She flat-out hustles," Bell said. "She plays defense and can shoot."
The physical game featured 39 fouls and 69 free throw attempts, but that's a result of the pressure defense played by both schools.
"We tried to exploit our [team's] speed," Brooke Point Coach Sonia Williams said. "We always press."
According to Williams, it was Brooke Point's attempt to slow down the game, that got the Black-Hawks into trouble.
"It's hard for us to go from fifth gear to second gear sometimes," Williams said. "I still have not figured that one out."
Cunningham scored all of her game-high 14 points in the first half, and Michelle Barnes finished with 13, including 9 of 13 free throws.
Fauquier (3-4)--K. Gilbertson 1 0-0 2, Dunaway 0 0-2 0, Moore 2 4-6 8, Downey 2 6-9 10, Bolden 1 2-4 4, D'Ambro 2 3-6 7, Gaudreault 6 1-2 13, Madaris 0 0-2 0. Totals 14 16-29 44.
Brooke Point (7-4)--Lloyd 1 0-2 2, Cunningham 6 2-4 14, Me. Barnes 1 3-6 5, Campbell 2 2-4 6, Mi. Barnes 2 9-13 13, Sandiford 2 0-0 4, Carlson 3 3-4 9. Totals 17 19-33 53.
Halftime: Brooke Point, 31-21.