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Prep Girls Basketball Notepad: Eagles not wowed by strong record

The Colonial Forge girls basketball team is steamrolling its way to a Commonwealth District title. But veteran coach Michelle Darley has managed to keep the Eagles grounded.

Two losses earlier this season helps her cause.

The Eagles (14–2, 10–0) dropped games to Potomac and Oak Hill Academy. Darley said Colonial Forge may see Potomac again in the Northwest Region tournament. The Eagles also may see Franklin County, a team they were impressed with at the early season tournament that featured the loss to Oak Hill.

“As good as we are,” Darley constantly tells her team, “there are teams out there better than us.”

That’s how Darley keeps the Eagles from getting overconfident.

Hubris might be the only thing that could allow a team in the Commonwealth to sneak up on them. The Eagles visit Stafford and University of Georgia recruit Merritt Hempe tonight.

Colonial Forge doesn’t have a major Division I recruit like Hempe, but Darley said this is “by far” the best team she has coached. She’s the only coach in the school’s 13-year history.

“Our versatility is probably our biggest advantage,” Darley said. “We can play different players at different positions. It’s the most athletic team I’ve had.”

The Eagles finished 17–7 last year as they advanced to the regional playoffs. They returned four starters from that team, including Coppin State signee T.T. Henderson. The lone non-returning starter is Brandi Holland, who started as a freshman and sophomore but missed last season with a torn ACL.

“We kind of knew we’d be good in the offseason,” Darley said. “And the girls stayed together as an AAU team, which really made the difference.”

Taft Coghill Jr.

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