On Friday night, the McLean Highlanders finished up their regular season with a heart-rending 52-50 loss in overtime, but they wouldn't have to wait long for revenge. In the first round of the Liberty District playoffs, the No. 5 Highlanders ousted No. 4 South Lakes 55-53. At halftime, McLean led by three points, at 24-21, and after the half, both teams began scoring more freely, led by Peter Kanellias and his game-high 20 points for the Highlanders. With less than 10 seconds to go, the score was locked at 53 and McLean had possession. Sean Fitzgerald, who had scored only four points by this point in the game, drove the lane and made a layup to win the game for the Highlanders, with a final score of 55-53. Ammoury added 16 for the Highlanders.
McLean will have to stay strong on Thursday, as they once more travel back to South Lakes for the Liberty Conference semifinals against top-seeded W.T. Woodson, a team with only one conference loss all season. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.
After falling to Langley in their regular season finale, the Marshall Statesmen had to turn right around and attempt to redeem themselves, as they began the Liberty Conference tournament.
Unlike McLean’s upset-bid gone-right, Marshall had no answer for the tough Saxon team, falling 69-46 at Langley. Again against Langley, the Statesmen’ assault from behind the arc continued, this time with the Statesmen draining eight three-pointers throughout the game, led by Nate Whittington’s three three’s and 13 points overall. Despite the flurry from the three-point line, Langley established an offensive rhythm throughout the game, scoring 10 more baskets than the Statesmen and taking 12 more trips to the free throw line to put the game out of reach.
Falls Church Boys
On Friday night, the Falls Church Jaguars finished up their regular season at home against No. 12 Chantilly. This game was a tale of two seasons, as Chantilly entered with an 18-2 overall record, while Falls Church came in with a 1-20 overall record. The game played out as the records would suggest, with the Jags falling 70-51 to the Chargers.
Junior guard JJ Dowdy led the Jags with 14 points.
Falls Church began their National Conference tournament against the second-seeded Yorktown on Tuesday, as Mt. Vernon earned a first-round bye by virtue of having the best conference record. The story of the season for the Jags carried over to the playoffs, where they proved no match for Yorktown, falling 50-34. After falling behind 24-11 at the half, the deficit was simply too large for the Jaguars to overcome in the second half. Junior forward/center Evan Hansen scored a team-high 11 points for the Jaguars and Dowdy chipped in 10 of his own, but it was not enough to overcome the balanced scoring of Yorktown.
J.E.B. Stuart Boys
The J.E.B. Stuart Raiders continued their successful crusade through the National Conference on Thursday night, traveling to Washington-Lee to finish up their regular season. The Raiders came out firing in the second half en route to 40 second-half points, and triumphed over Washington-Lee, 66-54.
Sophomore guard Antonio Harris lit up the Generals with a game-high 25 points; the Raiders had four double-digit scorers altogether.
The win moved set up a first-round meeting against Wakefield in the first round of the National District Tournament. The Raiders cruised in that game, 70-47, with four players again breaking the double-digit barrier in scoring. Mahamed Ibrahim scored 16 to lead the Raiders, while Harris and William Ford scored 15 apiece.
The win sets up a grudge match in the National District semifinals against Mt. Vernon. The Majors have claimed both games against the Raiders this year, but the first win took them two overtimes and they scraped out the second victory by only four points. Tip off is set for 6 p.m. at Mt. Vernon.
Falls Church Girls
The Lady Jaguars took a trip to Chantilly on Friday night to finish up their regular season; much like their male counterparts, the Lady Jags proved no match for Chantilly, falling 56-32. The Lady Jags had no answer for the Chargers senior guard Melissa Furr, who scored her 1,000th point of her career in the first quarter of the game. Furr scored 27 points overall, nearly outscoring the entire Lady Jags team by herself. Senior Almarys Ortiz led the Lady Jags with eight points. The loss dropped Falls Church to 3-19 overall.
On Tuesday, the Lady Jags had a first round matchup in the National Conference tournament with Yorktown, but the third-seeded Yorktown absolutely overwhelmed Falls Church, steamrolling them 60-21 and ending Falls Church’s season. Falls Church was led by senior guard Alison Gibbons and senior Claudia Valdivieso, who each scored four points.
The Marshall Lady Statesmen, looking for a final win before heading into the Liberty Conference tournament on Tuesday, traveled to conference rival Langley on Friday night. The Langley girls had no interest in Marshall’s upset bid and steadily handled the Lady Statesmen, winning 64-48. Sophomore Carlie Zirkle led the Lady Statesmen with 13 points and senior Ali Johnson chipped in 10 of her own.
Marshall dropped to 6-15 overall, 2-12 in conference with the loss, and ended the season a three-game losing streak after stringing together two consecutive wins two weeks ago. In a season of ups and downs for Marshall, the Lady Statesmen ended in on the latter note, falling to No. 12 James Madison, 48-38, in the first round of the Liberty District Tournament. Sophomore Theresa Hackett led Marshall with a team-high 11 points, Johnson chipped in nine and Zirkle added eight.
The McLean Lady Highlanders finished up their regular season on a two-game win streak thanks to a 40-37 victory over South Lakes at home on Friday night. Despite having not one girl score in double-digits, McLean found itself paced by junior guard Caity Flint and senior forward Michelle Zimmerman, who both scored eight points. McLean entered halftime with a 25-22 lead, and despite nearly even shooting statistics for both teams, the Lady Highlanders eked out the victory.
Ironically enough, the McLean girls faced a very familiar opponent in their opening round game of the Liberty Conference tournament: the girls of South Lakes.
The result in their tournament game was no different than their regular season game, as McLean won 45-40 on their home court. The Lady Highlanders dished the ball around beautifully as eight different girls scored points in the game, led by sophomore Melissa Wilson who had a team-high 10 points. Senior guard/forward Jessica Stillman added nine and freshman guard Andie Romness, the new high-scoring threat of McLean’s this year, chipped in seven points of her own. McLean faced top-seeded Madison on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. Results were not available at press time.
J.E.B. Stuart Girls
The girls of J.E.B. Stuart could not stop their season-ending skid this week, losing their last regular season game at home to Washington-Lee on Thursday night, 48-43. Despite the best efforts of senior guard Jayme Harris, who scored 15 of her own points for the Lady Raiders, they fell too far behind in the first half, facing a 25-14 deficit at halftime, and could not come back.
The Lady Raiders didn’t have to wait long to attempt to avenge their loss to Washington-Lee, as they began the National Conference tournament against their Thursday night foes on Tuesday.
The game once again came down to the wire, however Stuart fell just short, losing 50-48. Despite hot shooting from Harris, who had 17 of her own for the Lady Raiders, the damage done by McCue was too much to overcome for J.E.B. Stuart. The game came down to the wire, surprisingly, considering Washington-Lee entered halftime with a 31-21 lead, but still, Stuart’s season a bit earlier than they had hoped.