Troxell proving versatile

FRONT ROYAL — Things have certainly been a little different for Warren County’s Autumn Troxell this season.

After starting at point guard for the last three years, Troxell is playing at both shooting guard and forward. The results have been successful for the Wildcats, and Troxell has adjusted well to her new role.

“It’s odd. I’ve never really been an inside player. So I am a little awkward with things, but I enjoy it,” Troxell said. “I enjoy being able to play the outside and the inside, and not just being an outside threat but being able to work inside and get the ball inside.”

The 6-foot-2 senior scored 20 or more points in five consecutive games, until last Friday’s loss to Clarke County. Troxell scored 24 in a victory over Manassas Park on Jan. 5, and 20 in a close loss to George Mason on Jan. 7.

Her play last week helped Troxell earn The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for the week of Jan. 4-10.

Warren County coach John Kelly said he decided to move Troxell from the point guard position in part because the Wildcats lost four senior captains from last year’s squad.

“I think Autumn’s biggest role is not just having to be the scorer for us, but she has to be a leader too, as well,” Kelly said. “That’s one of the reasons we moved her out of the point guard spot this year, to give her much more of a break while she’s playing. So she doesn’t have to think her way through running the game, too.”

Another obvious reason is to take advantage of her size. The Wildcats lost a lot of height from last year’s squad, and Troxell has helped fill that role. She not only leads the team with 13.9 points per game, but also is averaging 8.0 rebounds per game.

Troxell said as the season goes on, she knows the games become even more important.

“These games are definitely important for us, so I’m definitely trying to step it up a little bit,” Troxell said.

One of the things Troxell has really improved on has been her shooting. In the first half against Manassas Park last week, Troxell was 6-for-10 from the field.

Kelly said he’s seen a big jump in Troxell’s confidence level with her shooting. However, Kelly said that Troxell’s biggest strength is her defense.

“She’s a good scorer, she’s a great scorer for us this year, but her defense is outstanding,” Kelly said. “She’s always around the ball. She has a knack for finding the ball, either when a player has it or off the rim for us. …Having her on defense I can put her on their best player to try to shut them down.”

Troxell said that the experience she’s gained the last three years has helped her this season to not feel so much pressure as a leader.

Kelly said that Troxell’s recent scoring surge was also helped by the play of junior Sam Schroyer.

“When other players are scoring, it gives her more opportunity to shoot because they have to focus on other players as well,” Kelly said. “Sam’s emergence has helped an awful lot with [Troxell]. Sam’s scoring about 12 points a game for us too, and that definitely helps to take some pressure off them because they’re both playing guard for us. Our posts are still inside, I think that definitely helps us.”

The Wildcats are 6-7 overall and 5-4 in the Bull Run District. Warren County is battling for one of the top four spots in the district, and to set itself up well in the conference race. The Wildcats lost in the Conference 28 semifinals last year, and Troxell said the goal is to go at least a step further this year.

Troxell said that she wants to make the most of what’s left of her senior season.

“It definitely just makes me realize that these can be some of my last games,” Troxell said. “So I’m going to try to go out there and give it all I got, because this is probably going to be my last stretch of basketball games that I’ll ever play. I just want to go out there and make coach proud, be there for my teammates, and just try as hard as I can.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com