Middleburg, VA (January 19, 2015) – Foxcroft School survived a marathon week of basketball action and emerged as the team to beat for the Delaney Athletic Conference Division II title.
Led by juniors Kat Forrest (Sperryville), Alex Grace (Purcellville) and Pipsy Steyn (Leesburg), Foxcroft played four games in five days during the week of Jan. 11-17 and won three of them, including two over Delaney Athletic Conference foes. The conference victories put the team in first place in the DAC’s Division II.
The marathon week began Tuesday, January 13, with a 40-26 victory over Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal then continued on Thursday, January 15, with a rousing 34-26 come-from-behind triumph over the Madeira School in McLean. Foxcroft lost a game to Fredericksburg Academy, 48-19, at home on Friday, January 17, but came back Saturday afternoon, January 18, to beat DAC foe Tandem Friends, 52-28, in Engelhard Gym.
The two conference victories leaves Foxcroft alone in first place in the DAC Division II with a 3-0 record. Foxcroft is 5-2 overall.
Against R-MA a good defense proved to the best attack. Foxcroft’s aggressive man-to-man defense overwhelmed the home team in the first half on Tuesday. The starting five of juniors Alex Grace, Pipsy Steyn, Kat Forrest, Serena Holz and freshman Mia Moseley held R-MA to only four points in the first half while streaking to a 14-4 lead at intermission. That essentially was the game as Foxcroft built a commanding 17-point lead after three quarters and substituted freely in the fourth quarter.
It was Foxcroft’s third victory over R-MA this season, including an exhibition outing in last Saturday’s “Think Pink” Tournament (which played shortened games with a running clock in its modified round robin format).
Foxcroft entered the game concerned about stopping R-MA’s best player, Emanuela Imangsuargbon, but Foxcroft kept her off the boards practically the entire game and, though she was fouled repeatedly on half-court baseline drives, she was only 5-for-19 from the free throw line and managed just one point in the first half.
Meanwhile, Foxcroft got its most balanced offensive attack of the season. Grace, the team’s leading scorer who was coming off a record-setting 24-point performance, led with 12 points and Steyn, Forrest and Moseley each had eight. Steyn and Moseley each had a 3-point basket and three steals.
Perhaps even better was Foxcroft’s balance on the boards. For the first time this season the team combined to have more rebounds than Forrest, who has led the team in rebounding in every game and twice has had 14 in a game. Forrest once again topped the team with 10 but she sat out much of the second half with four personal fouls and Moseley (7), Holz (4) and Steyn (4) picked up the slack. Sophomore Marley Blycher and juniors Caroline Magnani ’16, Acacia Newsome and Grace combined for six more rebounds.
Foxcroft played without senior captain Emma Rogers, who suffered a hand injury in practice Monday and will miss about a week. Holz filled in admirably as a starter for the first time this year.
Against Madeira, Grace came off the bench to trigger a second-half rally that gave Foxcroft its first victory over Madeira, since 2007. She had not been feeling well for several days and was to sit out against Madeira since it was a non-conference game.
So Grace watched from the bench in the first half as Foxcroft struggled to keep pace with a team that once was its archrival in the Independent Schools League. By halftime, Madeira had a 19-10 lead. That was all the scoring star needed to see. Off came the sweatpants and on came her basketball shoes.
Grace stole the ball in her first 10 seconds on the court and tallied six straight points to reduce Madeira’s lead to 19-13. That charge sparked the team and Foxcroft controlled the game from there, racing to a 34-26 victory for its first triumph over a VISAA Division I school since January of 2007.
Foxcroft’s defense also played an important part in the victory, holding Madeira to only seven points in the second half. Forrest had four steals and eight rebounds, Moseley had four steals and four rebounds and Holz, starting again in place of Rogers, had two steals and four rebounds.
The game was played with a 30-second clock, which is not used in DAC competition. That
took some getting used to for Foxcroft, which plays a deliberate half-court offense that requires moving the ball around the perimeter and looking for the open shot. Foxcroft lost the ball on a 30-second violation in its first offensive possession but committed only two more 30-second violations the rest of the way.
Forrest led Foxcroft in scoring with 11 points and Grace finished with 10. Magnani hit two 3-point field goals.
The Fredericksburg Academy game proved a dilemma for Coach Patrick Finn. FA is one of the best basketball teams in the DAC’s Division I. With another game scheduled for Saturday against DAC rival Tandem Friends – a game Foxcroft needed to win – Coach Finn decided before the game to rest his regulars if FA took command of the game. FA began to pull away at the end of the first half and so he sat Grace and Steyn for the entire second half and left Forrest in the game only for a few minutes to start. So it was no surprise that FA defeated Foxcroft, 48-19.
Finn’s decision to rest his three key players proved wise as Foxcroft showed great speed and determination on Saturday in solidly defeating Tandem Friends, 52-28. It was Foxcroft’s best offensive output of the season.
Grace had 18 points, Forest added 16 and Steyn tossed in 11 to lead the attack. Forrest and Moseley also had nine rebounds each while Steyn had eight assists and five steals.
Foxcroft has another three games this week, including DAC Division II contests against St. Michael’s in Fredericksburg and Quantico at home. Follow the team at www.foxcroft.org.