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The Jaguars' Ainsley Phillips is double-teamed by Fairfax defenders. Phillips hit three free throws late to help seal a hard-fought Falls Church victory.

Falls Church grinds out “ugly” 33-25 victory over Fairfax

Venus Williams once said, “win pretty, win ugly, just win.” On Wednesday night on the road against Fairfax there was very little that Falls Church did pretty, but still the Jaguars just won, 33-25.

“Probably the worst we played all year, but we pulled it out,” said Falls Church coach Katelyn Charbonneau.

The Jaguars’ offense wasn’t at its best. Falls Church shot only 22.5% from the field, and after opening up a ten-point lead at halftime only managed one point in the third quarter. Still, it was enough to win, mainly because the visitors did play good defense. Falls Church limited Fairfax to 14.75% shooting on the night, and Jaguars guard Sadie Laughlin did a good job on talented Fairfax forward Anna Mawloud. Mawloud led the Lions with nine points, but she needed 20 shots to get that.

Sadie Laughlin and the Jaguars defense was impressive, limiting Fairfax to under 15% shooting from the field.

Fairfax (1-3) played hard, showing good defense themselves and crashing the boards. Trailing virtually the whole game, they cut the Jaguars’ lead to one possession on three occasions in the second half. Falls Church was saved by making its free throws down the stretch. Senior Simone Pendleton and junior Ainsley Phillips each made three of four late, which allowed the Jaguars to hold off their hosts.

Despite a terrible shooting night, the Lions had some positives even in defeat. Junior Leena Olibah was relentless going after missed shots, tallying 15 rebounds on the night. Senior center Caitlyn Clark and freshman Nia Broughton gave Fairfax noticeable sparks off the bench with their hustle–Broughton hitting the team’s only three-pointer and Clark impressing with her defense and rebounding.

The Jaguars (6-1) were led by Pendleton’s 14 points and 11 rebounds, with Phillips close behind at eight points and nine rebounds. Junior Madeline Alexander hit two key threes off the bench, while senior guard Emily Keefe somehow managed four assists on a night where precious few of the Jaguars’ shots were falling.

A victory is a victory, but the Jaguars, who aspire to postseason success with their senior-laden lineup, know they’ll have to improve. But they also know they have to find a way to win on nights where they’re not at their best, exactly like on Wednesday.

It wasn’t the best shooting night for Simone Pendleton (14 points) and her Jaguars, but she/they stepped up late.

“Poor shooting night,” said Charbonneau. “As an experienced team we need to win close games like this. We got everybody back from last year and that helps. Situations like that we probably would have turned it over last year at the end a couple times.”

“We’ve learned as a team and we’ve learned to grind out the close ones, the ugly ones.”

–Chris Jollay

all statistics are unofficial

LAUGHLIN 0-1 0-0  0  1  0
STROTHER 0-7 1-2  1  2  0
KEEFE 1-6 0-0  2  7  4
PHILLIPS 1-9 6-10  8  9  0
PENDLETON 4-10 6-13  14  11  2
Alexander 2-5 0-0  6  1  0
Keefer 1-2 0-0  2  0  0
Benjamin-Jabbie 0-0 0-0  0  2  0
TOTALS 9-40 13-25  33  33  6
Threes: Alexander 2-3, Pendleton 0-1, Phillips 0-2,      Strother 0-3
K. BUSTAMANTE 0-12 0-0  0   2   1
OLIBAH 3-5 0-0  6  15   0
HESLEP 1-5 2-4  4   4   0
MAWLOUD 3-20 3-6  9   8   0
GEAR 0-5 1-2  1   0   1
Iriarte Gamboa 0-3 0-0  0   2   0
M.Bustamante 0-3 0-0  0   0   0
Broughton 1-4 0-2  3   4   0
Clark 1-4 0-2  2   6   0
Menon 0-0 0-0  0   0   0
TOTALS 9-61 6-16  25   41   2
Threes: Broughton 1-2, Iriarte Gamboa 0-1, Heslep 0-2, M.Bustamante 0-2, Mawloud 0-3, Gear 0-3,       K.Bustamante 0-5