First Place in JD Hoops at Stake on Tuesday

Earlier this month, the Western Albemarle boys left Fluvanna with a loss in their Jefferson District opener -- and some new-found motivation.

"Our goal when we went down to Fluvanna earlier in the year and lost, was to get back to them and only be at least one behind them," Warriors coach Darren Maynard, whose team lost 69-49 on January 3, said Monday.

"We actually got a break, to where we're tied now," added Maynard, whose Warriors host the Flucos on Tuesday with the winner moving into sole possession of first place.

Western has rattled off six straight district wins since that loss to the Flucos. Fluvanna had been unbeaten in the JD, until a 74-54 loss at Monticello last Friday that created the tie atop the standings.

The Flucos also dropped two spots to fourth in the latest statewide AA boys poll released on Monday by the Associated Press. They had spent the past two weeks ranked No. 2.

"We've got a great group of kids, and they've worked hard. And they deserve to win the games that they've won," Fluvanna coach Munro Rateau said Monday. "But we're going to have to get better to win any more."

"We've just got to come out with a higher intensity than we did against Monticello," said senior guard YaYa Anderson. "So that's what we're going to focus on today. We're going to focus on defense, and not allowing transition points."

"Western's a very good team. They're very fundamentally sound," said senior forward Jake Smith. "Friday night showed us that defensively, we need to work on getting to our spots, getting back on defense. And today in practice we're going to work a lot on defensive characteristics."

Tuesday night's game is at Western Albemarle.

"It's a very big game," said Maynard. "I hope we have a good crowd out there. I think our whole school is kind of excited about it."

"Every game we win after that pretty much sets up the biggest game of the year, coming up next," said senior forward Ben Turner. "So this game is a pretty big game for the year."

Maynard says the Warriors weren't as aggressive as Fluvanna the first time the two teams met. He also says Western has come "leaps and bounds" since that first game.

"One of our goals every year is to win the district, and we knew we'd have to get back to them without getting beat again, and then taking care of business," he said. "So it's a huge game."

goal was to be within a game

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