Samuel Matthews is one of Fauquier's seven returning varsity players.

Wayne Brizzi wasn’t sure what to expect for the boys basketball season before the Fauquier Falcons opened Wednesday with a 56-46 win against Rappahannock. 

The Falcons returned some key players from 2018-19, but the Class 4 Northwestern District looks typically tough with Handley, Millbrook and newcomer Culpeper hoping to make life miserable for the opposition.

Brizzi, in his 26th year, liked the Falcons’ effort during the preseason, but a Nov. 27 scrimmage on the road against the talented Charlottesville Black Knights revealed some problems.

“I think we have some skillful players, but you have to be able to demonstrate that on the court. We just didn’t do that” against Charlottesville, Brizzi said.

But “I’ve got no complaints," he said. "We are working hard, covering things. It’s been fun.”

Senior guard Devin Lewis returned after gaining all-district second-team honors last season. He averaged nine points per game and has the capability to expand that output.

“I think he has shown some leadership qualities,” Brizzi said.

Fellow seniors Sam Matthews, Marc Bonnaire and Kyle Dargis provide similar leadership.

“That’s exciting,” Brizzi said.

Thurman Smith, Hunter Lamper, Lucas Moylan, Luke Harris, Ryder Sabruno, Sam Potucek, Joseph Randle and Evan Jackson complete Fauquier’s roster.

Like many seasons, the Falcons are not blessed with height, so rebounding needs particular attention.

“You’ve got to block out. That’s just simple basketball,” Brizzi said. “Our rebounding hasn’t been there, defensively or offensively.

“You can play as hard as you can defensively, but if you can’t rebound, you’re done,” he said. “Rebounding is going to be a key for us.”

Fauquier will play eight games before January 1, including four district tilts.

“By the first of the year, we want to be able to control our [defensive] boards, be able to execute and take care of the ball,” Brizzi said. “If we can do those things, it will make a big difference.”

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