CHANNAHON – After a 41-37 loss to Grace Christian Monday, the FOFCA girls basketball team had four games, plus the Southshore Christian Conference tournament, left to reach last season’s win total.
At 8-10 overall, the Screaming Eagles were two wins short heading into Tuesday’s action. They went 10-15 in 2012-13, only their second varsity season, after winning once the year before.
The Screaming Eagles’ two leading scorers are senior Alli Willis and sophomore Destiny Villalejo. Villalejo averaged 18.0 points a game last season, her first in the program. Her average has fallen (through Monday) to 14.6 PPG, which is largely because of the presence of Willis, a transfer from Reed-Custer whose 15.6 PPG is a team high.
“It’s made it a lot easier,” Villalejo said of Willis joining the team. “The more girls we’ve had, and the older we are, it helps a lot. She’s been a positive.”
Willis and fellow senior Sarah Ayers are the only two upperclassmen on the team. The varsity includes two sophomores, a freshman, four eighth-graders and a sixth-grader.
“We have a lot of younger girls, but we’re doing good,” Willis said, “and everyone’s learning a lot. We’re improving a lot.”
Monday’s game was both a preview of things to come and a reason for hope for the Screaming Eagles. They are likely to face Grace again in the first round of the SCC tournament, and though they lost, they came back from a 22-13 halftime deficit to lead briefly in the fourth quarter.
“They showed a lot of heart. We’re a young team, so we’ve made some young mistakes, but they showed some resilience, some promise,” coach Mike Blan said. “I think we’ve learned defensively what we need to do against them, and offensively we just need to run our offense and move the ball, take good shots.”