NEW MARKET - The Southmont girls' basketball team has just one more test before heading to Fountain Central next week for the Class 2A sectional 38. But it's a pretty big test as Tri-West (14-6, 5-1 SAC) visits New Market.

"Tri-West is an experienced team that runs the floor well and can consistently score from the outside and inside," Southmont first-year coach Susan McVay noted. "They put pressure on teams and can score quickly in transition."

Southmont (4-16, 1-5 SAC) has been victorious in just one of their last five attempts, with three of those losses coming to Class 3A schools. They will have to play some of their best basketball to keep up with the Bruins.

"We will have to get back on defense, as well as guard their posts and outside shooters," McVay said. "We can't have unforced errors that result in easy points for them, so our guards will have to make good decisions when handling the ball."

The Bruins feature one of the Sagamore Athletic Conference's best players in senior Karen Jones. She averages almost 17 points and more than 10 rebounds a game. The Mounties, however, are no stranger to seeing elite players.

"We need to be smart on defense and block out. That goes for everyone on the floor," McVay said.

With just one game before the sectional, the Mounties are looking to maintain the relative healthiness they've achieved with a lighter schedule.

"Having a week between games has allowed the girls some rest and a chance to hopefully get over some of the sickness that has been going around," McVay said. "As far as injuries go, we will still be without three Varsity players for the Tri-West game, but will gain limited playing time from Marlowe McVay for the Sectional next week. She was released from her doctor on Monday."

Despite a bumpy road this season, McVay said that her squad has made strides and that it will be ready to compete at its highest level.

"I think our team has been playing at a much more focused level, and they continue to play hard, which I never question," she said. "The fact that Hall of Fame coach Jan Conner stopped me after the lopsided loss at Lebanon to introduce herself and tell me how impressed she was with how hard our girls worked despite the score speaks volumes about the heart of our players. As far as areas of improvement, we're hoping to cut down on our turnovers and increase our shooting percentage, from the floor and the free throw line."

The ladies will kick off a varsity double header with a 6 p.m. tip. The varsity boys will follow.