The Colonels’ girls basketball team played its season opener against Cumberland on January 6, putting up a valiant effort despite the absence of the team’s starting point guard.

ACS Coach Debra Spencer said this year’s team is young, and that for many players, the Cumberland game was their first at the varsity level.

“They play really hard, they’re aggressive, they hustle,” Spencer said about her team.

Cumberland jumped out to an early lead, as the Colonels were outscored 11-1 in the first quarter.

“That pretty much provided the difference in the game,” Spencer said about the early deficit.

In lieu of the team’s starting point guard, Spencer said two freshman players took turns bringing the ball up.

“They got better and better as the game went on,” Spencer said.

Spencer said after the first quarter both teams took turns going on runs. The Colonels had whittled the lead down to 7 late in the fourth quarter, before Cumberland pulled away.

The final score of the game was Cumberland 45, Altavista 31.

Despite the final tally, the score was closer for much of the game, and the Colonels had numerous bright spots in what was for many players their first varsity game.

“We got good play from our young players,” Spencer said.

Keegan deBernard had a strong all-around performance, finishing the game with 12 points and 12 rebounds, good for a double-double, along with 5 steals and 4 assists.

Along with deBernad, several other Altavista players made a significant impact. Keelie Dawson had 9 points to go with 6 rebounds and 5 assists, and Dexaria Berger had 4 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Camille Pennix had 9 rebounds.

Spencer said the team will continue working, and plans to focus on the following:

“Fundamental skills, individual improvement, and then execution of what we want to do on both ends of the floor,” Spencer said.

The Colonels’ girls basketball schedule includes a home game against Nelson on January 12, an away game against Appomattox on January 13, a home game against Chatham on January 15 and a home game against Cumberland on January 16.