By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
FONDA -- With a winning record through four games for the first time since the 2009-10 season, the Fonda-Fultonville Lady Braves head into tonight's Colonial Council home game feeling pretty good about themselves.
"This is what we were hoping to do," says senior guard Emily Frollo. "This is the year where we knew we could really start being competitive in this league."
Now in their third season in the Colonial Council after moving from the Western Athletic Conference, the Lady Braves finally feel like they are used to the style of play in their new league.
"In the past, we could get away with two or three bad minutes -- or a bad quarter -- and we could still win games," says head coach Wendi Waters. "Now, we can't and the girls understand that."
That truth was shown in F-F's two most recent games. A week ago, F-F showed up less than prepared for its road game with Schalmont and the Lady Braves found themselves down 18 points after one quarter on their way to a 13-point loss.
Then, Tuesday, F-F was ready from the get-go, as the Lady Braves scored a 72-61 victory against Voorheesville.
"I was so impressed with how they played. It started in warm-ups, they were going hard," says Waters. "They're starting to get the message and it was awesome to watch."
Before Tuesday, the Lady Braves had not beaten Voorheesville since joining the Colonial Council.
"It definitely feels good to be 3-1," says F-F sophomore Emily Parslow. "To beat Voorheesville ... we were definitely the underdogs and we beat them by 11. It was great."
With a similar effort to the one her team showed against Voorheesville, Waters says she thinks her team can keep building on its early success.
"If we can do that every game, we're going to be in every game," Waters says.
The Lady Braves (3-1, 1-1) play host tonight to the Cobleskill-Richmondville Lady Bulldogs (2-2, 1-2).
Last season, the Lady Braves typically relied on one or two scorers -- usually Parslow and/or the now-graduated Alyssa Craig -- to carry the load for the squad.
That's not the case this season.
"We pay a lot more attention now to making sure every player does their job. It's not just all 3-pointers anymore because our coach doesn't want us to live and die by the 3-point line anymore," says junior forward Monica Derby. "We're focusing on getting the ball more now to Taylor (Wetsky) down low and our guards do a fantastic job of that. The chemistry is a lot better this year."
"Several different players can lead us on any given night in scoring," adds Waters. "For us to be successful, we need to get the ball to whoever is hot that night."
To that end, a different player has led the Lady Braves in scoring in each of the team's first four games. Perhaps more importantly, four players have scored eight or more points in each of the team's three wins.
"We're really working as a team," says junior forward Jeananna Warner. "We're all together and passing the ball around. It's not one person out for themselves."
The team's balance does not mean that it is impossible for one Lady Brave to stand out on a given night. Tuesday night, it was Frollo's turn to shine, as the senior scored 20 points to lead F-F to the victory.
"That was her break-out game and I've been waiting for that to happen because I knew she was capable of it," Waters says.
"I wasn't surprised, but I was happy to see it," adds Waters. "Emily works so hard and does all the little things for us, so it was nice for her to finally get the points, too."
For her part, Frollo says she was not thinking about her personal tally during Tuesday's game.
"I care more about the overall score during the game," says Frollo. "I care more about us winning as a team than how much I score."
So, instead of keeping score with herself during the game, the senior found out her output following the game -- which was a pretty cool moment.
"Oh, yeah," she says. "That was pretty exciting."
Parslow, the team's top shooter from deep, has struggled so far this season from behind the 3-point line, missing 27 of her 34 3-pointers.
"I'm not really sure (what's wrong)," she says. "I didn't shoot well in the tip-off tournament and, against Schalmont, I was awful."
The sophomore shooter came out of her slump Tuesday, making 4 of 11 shots from deep. But Parslow says getting her shot right is still a work in progress.
"I just have to keep shooting," she says. "That's what my coach says, just to keep shooting and they'll start going in."