Paul VI G Lindsey Oblitey steps up in Ariana Freeman’s absence

January 13

Paul VI Catholic’s Lindsey Oblitey, left, is receiving interest from Virginia Tech. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

When Paul VI Catholic beat rival and then-No. 2 St. John’s on December 23, a sense of calm came over Lindsey Oblitey and the rest of her teammates, who were in the early stage of learning how to play without one of the area’s best players in senior All-Met Ariana Freeman.

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Freeman has been sidelined with an ankle injury since mid-December, which could have been a calamity for the Panthers moving forward. But disaster never came. Instead, Paul VI (11-3) has gone 6-2 since that point, with Oblitey serving as the backbone for a team in need of leadership.

She has always been a well-rounded offensive player (Oblitey was third in scoring on last year’s 29-win team, averaging 7.5 points per game), but she has also been equally productive defensively and on the boards for Paul VI. She has played point and handled off the ball duties for the Panthers, and on a team stocked with sophomores and juniors, she has been the voice with Freeman out.

There where many questions about how the team would handle Freeman’s injury, and Oblitey was asking herself:”Is it a year? What’s going to happen now?”

“She’s a big part of our team. I was really devastated, but there’s nothing you can do about it. You have to keep pushing forward,” Oblitey said. “I feel like I have become more of a leader that has to provide an example for everyone.”

Freeman is expected to rejoin the team later this month, Paul VI Coach Scott Allen said last week, and when she does, she will be bolstering a team that is in the hunt to take the WCAC title come February. The Panthers have won three straight, which includes close calls with McNamara and Holy Cross earlier this month. Paul VI won those contests by a combined 11 points, and Oblitey was terrific in both. She combined for 24 points with three three-pointers, and hit 7-of-9 free throws in the two contests.

Oblitey is averaging 10.9 points per game this season, and has scored in double-figures in six of her last seven games. Her best performance came on the biggest stage against St. John’s, when she scored 13 points and hit three three-pointers, and she has hit at least one three in each game she has played since.

Oblitey is receiving interest from Virginia Tech, which she said is her early favorite. She was nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game last week.

“It was surprising, actually,” Oblitey said. “[I'm] just playing hard, scoring, putting up stats. Things like that.”

NUMBER CRUNCH: 36 

The number of consecutive games in a row that North Point girls’ basketball team had won entering Saturday’s game against T.C. Williams, which snapped the streak with a 75-71 win. 

BREAKFAST LINKS

–O’Connell shocked the WCAC Thursday with an upset of then-No. 1 Paul VI in overtime, then took over sole possession of first place in the league with a stunning win over DeMatha Saturday.

– Good Counsel played its fourth game in five days Saturday against Georgetown Visitation, but found just enough legs down the stretch to pull out its best win of the season.

– Bowie speedster Joshua Wilkins put on a show Saturday at Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex, showing his durability with emphatic wins in two events. 

VIDEO FROM THE WEEKEND

PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY

Girls’ Basketball: No. 15 Howard at Long Reach, 5:30 p.m.

Howard (11-0) is among the areas hottest teams, and looks for its 12th straight win Monday after beating Mount Hebron and Bel Air by a combined score of 91-58 last week. Upset-minded Long Reach (4-6) is coming off a three-point win against Glenelg.

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