If Woodgrove’s 58-49 win Friday over Loudoun County was something like a semester final, offering a mid-year assessment of the Wolverines’ mastery of the ever-familiar AA Dulles District, consider the team’s game the next day something like the SAT, an exam for which you can only do so much to prepare.
The official name of Saturday’s home test was undefeated Spotswood. It could’ve gone better. With a team not even 24 hours removed from its toughest win of the season, a bill of health that was anything but clean and an opponent that might just be the best in Virginia’s Division 3, Loudoun County (10-2) struggled to keep up in a 59-44 loss.
A win would’ve been nice, Coach Kevin Copley conceded Sunday. Even if the Wolverines win out the rest of the regular season — and there’s little to suggest they won’t — nonleague games factor into region standings and postseason seeding.
Still, losses can do some good. For all the disadvantages of facing an unfamiliar foe — a bare-bones scouting report, only a faint idea of what certain players even look like — there are benefits hidden in the process.
“We kind of looked at it as a playoff atmosphere. Here’s a team you’re not going to see again this year, because they’re Division 3, but they’re good,” Copley said. “It’s a team similar to the teams you’re gonna see in the regional state playoffs, so we’re gonna try and treat it that way.”
Woodgrove held steady early, trailing by only three at the end of the first quarter. But when the shooting disparity widened, as it has in the Wolverines’ rare struggles this season, so did the deficit. The team trailed by as many as 14 in the second quarter before it got as close as eight midway through the fourth quarter.
Then Spotswood started hitting shots again, and a matchup Copley had thought to be “pretty evenly matched” suddenly didn’t look it.
“It was a very good experience for our girls,” Copley said. “You never want to lose a game, but I think we pulled a lot from that game. I think that’s going to give us some things to work on and I think it’s going to make us better in the second half of the season.”
The Wolverines have already followed that script once. The team lost its season opener, a nonleague game at Battlefield, before winning 10 straight. Ten more regular-season games await, and after that, the test of the postseason. By then, Copley hopes, the answers will come easier.
“Ultimately, at the end of the season” Copley said, “you want to get to Richmond and see what happens when you get down there.”