The Fairfax girls’ basketball team is playing without a true forward this season. Where games a season ago were won in the paint with hard fought layups and rebounds, they’re won with this group on the perimeter, trying to create that foot or two of separation to launch a shot or drive to the rim.
And then there’s the Rebels’ Dominique Webster, a senior 5-foot-9 self-described “guard-post.”
She sets the pick in pick-and-rolls. She anchors the lane on defense and leads Fairfax (13-3) in rebounding with 5.3 per game.
It’s a new mold for a basketball player to fill all of these roles: ballhandler and shot blocker, shooter and rebounder.
But the entire Virginia Conference 6 is undersized this year, Coach Pat Deegan said. Height, and therefore strategy, is cyclical. He remembers seasons when teams in this district could not compete if they didn’t have a power forward with a post move or two who could stay out of foul trouble.
Deegan’s teams year after year will play the same system with a couple twists thrown in to maximize his team’s skill set. He believes in half-court defense, running in transition when possible and motion offenses that move the ball side to side with precision. He states those beliefs like moral convictions.
His teams pick up on them, Webster said, and players at this point in the season become accustomed to flexing into new roles that accommodate those beliefs.
The Rebels, she said, are so dialed in, they’ve stopped looking at the scoreboard during games. They’re more content to run their offense and get back on defense. The results will take care of themselves.
“We don’t feel like they just scored so we need to go score,” she said. “We think about working our offense and digging in on defense and the points will come. That’s really helped us get better. That’s what separates a good team from a great team.”
After five games, No. 11 Oakton is back to full strength after a slew of suspensions following a holiday tournament in Phoenix. In the Cougars’ first game back at full tilt, seniors Delaney Connolly and Maddie Royle scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, in a win over Centreville.
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