Vance Charter women’s basketball player Allie Bliss (2) gets swarmed by three Falls Lake Academy defenders during her team’s 56-28 loss on Wednesday evening.

HENDERSON — Wednesday evening featured an unusual scene for the Vance Charter women’s basketball program, as they were dominated in all four quarters by Falls Lake Academy and sustained a lopsided 56-28 loss.

Head coach Brian Howard said the Knights are still adjusting to a new season under COVID-19 restrictions and being without the senior class that led Vance Charter to a 28-2 record last year.

“Most of my girls played hard, especially the younger ones with not a lot of experience,” Howard said. “We need our leaders to step up because this is not last year’s team. I think we still live in that moment sometimes and just don’t realize that this is a brand new year. We have to take things seriously and play with more hunger.”

Vance Charter was coming off two convincing wins against Oxford Prep and Roxboro Community that paid homage to the dominance of last year’s team, and at first seemed on track against Falls Lake Academy after pulling ahead 5-2 in the first quarter.

But the offense and defense started to fall apart as the first quarter came to an end, and Falls Lake capitalized. By halftime, the Knights were down 17.

Vance Charter shot better in the second half, but could not do anything to erase the insurmountable advantage Falls Lake built on its way to an easy season-opening win.

Howard knew that Falls Lake Academy would provide a tough challenge for his team based on the caliber of its program alone, but he also had to make sure his players were prepared, as most were returning home from the school’s road volleyball game against Perquimans the previous day.

Combined with having practices affected by the snow that hit Vance County last week, Howard was not expecting anything to come easy for Vance Charter against Falls Lake, but he is confident the early struggles will help make his players more competitive as the season progresses.

“We need to get the younger girls more comfortable,” Howard said. “The veterans also need to get more experience with their leadership roles. Once we get that going, we’ll be fine and I’m pretty sure we’ll be ready to face [Falls Lake Academy] again later this year.”

Vance Charter’s next game will take place on Jan. 19 against Voyager Academy at 6 p.m.

Wednesday’s Scores

Men’s Basketball

Vance Charter 58, Falls Lake Academy 48 (F)

South Granville 117, Warren County 14 (F)

Women’s Basketball

Falls Lake Academy 56, Vance Charter 28 (F)