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Payton Swart is one of Fauquier's six returning varsity players.

Brian Foddrell is tired of seeing the Fauquier girls basketball as a doormat.

In his second year as head coach, Foddrell hopes his players will alter that long-held image this season.

“I think for the first time in a while we will be recognized in our district,” Foddrell said. “Instead of being the Fauquier where people just came in and run all over the scoreboard because we didn’t have enough players or other things.”

After a 5-14 season last winter, Foddrell is taking a decidedly upbeat tone.

“I think this year we actually will start to see that change a little bit,” he said.

Normally, a program’s quick turnaround is reliant on a bevy of upperclassmen, but the Falcons have only one senior and one junior on the 11-girl roster. Fauquier has four sophomores who earned varsity letters as freshmen.

“Last year, the girls were inexperienced, and they got some experience in a rough way,” Foddrell said with a laugh.

Players transitioning directly from middle school games to high school varsity play led to those struggles. But those travails inspired the girls to work diligently over the next nine months to manufacture enough ammunition to mount a retaliation tour this winter. They played in summer and fall leagues, and worked with a private trainer to gain skills and strength.

Foddrell said the change is evident.

“The more you play this game and work on your skills, the stronger they become,” Foddrell said. “The confidence level is a lot higher.

“We can compete at that [varsity] pace now, which has given us a good foundation for the future,” he said. “Their skills have developed to a point where they are minimizing those mistakes they made last year. I see that improvement starting to take hold.”

Tia Minor is the lone senior, back for her fourth season on the varsity. She was a Northwestern all-district second team choice last winter as the team’s leading scorer. The junior is Emma Carter, who played as a freshman and returns after swimming last winter.

Payton Swart, Skyler Furr, Makyala Foddrell and Skye Corum are sophomores who started most games last season. Classmate Carly McMurphy will be an asset on defense, Brian Foddrell said, while sophomore Bhavika Regeti missed last season with a knee injury, but her size will be a big positive for the Falcons.

In fact, height is abundant, and the Falcons were successful on the offensive boards in last week’s scrimmage versus Highland.

“Once a person shoots the ball, we are attacking the backboard,” Foddrell said. “We go over that a lot in practice.”

The Falcons also were aggressive driving to the basket, which helped to compensate for some anemic outside shooting.

“We had a more aggressive approach offensively,” Foddrell said. “We weren’t just standing around.”

Sophomore Caroline Thompson and freshmen Mikayla Gilmore and Shannon Sellers complete the team. Foddrell said the freshmen may see junior varsity time as well with the Falcons fielding a small JV squad this winter after many years without the benefit of the feeder program.

Fauquier opens its varsity schedule Monday, Dec. 2 at Skyline before traveling to Rappahannock on Dec. 4. The first home game is Dec. 9 versus Rappahannock.

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