Fort Lupton’s girls basketball team had the chance to experience both sides of the spectrum in its opening games last week.
On the one hand, the Bluedevils trounced Aurora West College Prep 38-4 behind 13 points from Zaylee Chavez and 12 more from Daniella Aviles.
John F. Kennedy came to town Dec. 2 and left with a 53-6 win. Micaela Garcia scored half of Fort Lupton’s points. Jaedyn Deleon had two, and Aviles sank a free throw. Jonni Valdez led the Commanders with 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Bodice Okra added 11.
“We got an easy win Tuesday,” said FLHS coach Gabriella Jolley. “You build up the confidence. I was happy we got the first win., but I don’t think they knew what was coming after that. You have to get used to it.”
FLHS is dealing with some early season injuries. There’s the youth angle, too. Five varsity players are freshmen.
“We have girls who struggle with dribbling, travel, as you see,” Jolley said. “We are kind of a like a C/JV team playing against varsity teams. We’re trying to get through it. I told the girls, ‘Don’t let the game show how you are. Bounce back from the loss and work hard in practice.’”
Jolley said the level of intensity in practice is different from a game.
“If you practice the way you play, you’d be better,” she said. “We have four seniors. Two of them did not play last year. We have the five freshmen. It’s a young team. Some of the girls have never played and decided to join the team, and I am happy about that.”
JFK scored the first 22 points of the game. Deleon made FLHS’ only field goal early in the third quarter.
“They worked hard. They were exhausted,” Jolley said. “I basically played with seven players. They worked hard. That’s all I’m asking. There wasn’t a moment when we gave up. We need to be more vocal on defense and communicate better. That’s just another thing we need to work on.”
FLHS continues the Santiago’s Shootout tournament this week.
“I like that we are feeling like a family,” Jolley said. “We are encouraging each other better. Last year, because of the coronavirus, we were slapped in the middle of the season and say, ‘OK, play.’ We’re trying to boost the self-esteem. The culture on the team is really good right now.”