Coach Glenna Lewis has Matoaca High’s girls basketball team playing arguably the best basketball they have played in her nine-year tenure. Building off last... Well-balanced Warriors off to hot start

Coach Glenna Lewis has Matoaca High’s girls basketball team playing arguably the best basketball they have played in her nine-year tenure.

Building off last year’s 19-win season, the Warriors have shot out of the gate, winning nine of their first 10 games.

Like we thought in the preseason, we have been able to play our whole team in the majority of our games,” Lewis said. “That definitely helps us out defensively.”

“We are playing well in all position,” Lewis said. “We are seeing players develop and mature as we play and have had people step up big in pressure games, and our returners are playing like we had hoped.”

The offensive is led by the quartet of Aliyah Jackson, Jordan Carpenter, Nadja Gray and Janai Harrison. All four have helped Matoaca play with balance and efficiency.

Jackson and Carpenter are scoring about 11 points per game, and Gray and Harrison, 10. They are shooting over 50 percent from the floor as a group.

In addition, Carpenter and Harrison are averaging 11 and 10 rebounds per game, respectively.

Gray and Jackson have shown an affinity for shooting the three ball as primary scoring guards in Lewis’ offense.

Freshman Maia Pettaway has impressed early, particularly in pressure situations. She is averaging nearly eight points per game and has played a heavy load of minutes despite her youth. Pettaway came out of the gates strongly, scoring 16 points against Colonial Heights and 15 against Huguenot.

The balance goes farther than that, as Lewis said that they have two or three different girls who step up every night. Alize Armstead, Kyndell Satterwhite, Aliyah Coleman and Jada Robinson have contributed on both sides of the ball, and Hayley Blair’s three-point shooting has been a welcome addition to the team’s offensive arsenal.

“We believe that everyone on the roster can score in the right position and sequence,” Lewis said. “We encourage it. Getting better and pushing ourselves [is] our motto for the season.”

As a team, Matoaca has put up several banner offensive performances. They started the season by scoring 73, 77 and 75 points. In their 10 games so far, they’ve only scored less than 58 points twice, against Petersburg and in their loss to Thomas Dale.

If there is one “bug-a-boo” thus far, it’s their free-throw shooting. In their 46-38 loss to the Knights, they missed 14 shots from the charity stripe. As a team, they’ve shot about 60 percent on free throws, a number that needs to improve to give Matoaca the best chance to win their games.

The great results are a culmination of a roster that’s grown and experienced bumps together.

The team has just two seniors in Gray and Harrison, five juniors, two sophomores and Pettaway, the lone freshman.

Looking ahead, the Warriors will take their first shot at Hopewell, a perennially strong team Thursday, Jan. 17.

They will finish the regular season with another game against the Hopewell Blue Devils on Feb. 7.

Rematches with Thomas Dale and Meadowbrook should prove to the challenging as well.