Centreville gears up for showdown with Oakton; Lake Braddock’s Natalie Butler on a roll
By Preston Williams,
No. 19 Centreville fell behind Westfield, 15-2, on Thursday before rallying for a 48-37 win that keeps the Wildcats unbeaten in the Virginia AAA Concorde District headed into their game Friday at No. 17 Oakton.
By halftime, Westfield had only a three-point advantage.
“It’s easy to play with a 15-point lead and not so easy to play catch-up basketball,” said Watson, a former Centreville assistant. “It showed the character of my team completely. I asked them if they were afraid they were going to lose the game and they said no.”
The game at Oakton will feature one of the area’s best point guards, Centreville junior Jenna Green, against one of the area’s best post players, Oakton senior Elizabeth Manner. Both teams will have been idle since Jan. 10.
“If both teams bring their ‘A’ games it might be one of the best games in the region,” Watson said. “If someone doesn’t, it might not be.”
Oakton (13-2, 3-0) has won at least 29 consecutive games in the series with Centreville (14-1, 3-0).
Green scored 17 points, her average, in the win over Westfield, and junior Katie Blumer added 13. The only game Centreville lost this season was the one game in which Green did not score in double figures. That was a 53-48 setback to Madison in the first round of the Westfield Bulldog Bash. Logsdon, a William & Mary soccer recruit, and Wakefield were not on hand for that game.
“Jenna’s having an all-region season,” Watson said, adding that Green has double-doubles in points and assists in some games and in points and steals in other games. “She’s starting to be a leader out there and the other kids are buying into her. When we’re in trouble, she seems to be the one who pulls us out of it.”
Butler dominating for Bruins
Lake Braddock senior center Natalie Butler recorded perhaps the season’s most dominant overall game of a Washington area girls’ player Friday night when she amassed 40 points and 31 rebounds in a 76-65 win over T.C. Williams.
The victory snapped a 12-game losing streak in the series for the Bruins (8-4, 4-2 in the Virginia AAA Patriot District), who have won five straight.
It was the 6-foot-4 Butler’s second consecutive 40-plus scoring game; the Georgetown recruit also hit that mark Tuesday, and had 18 rebounds, in a 52-48 win over Annandale that snapped a 13-game losing streak in that series.
“[Butler] recognizes mismatches and so do her teammates,” third-year Lake Braddock Coach Leigh Janis said. “She does a good job at keeping the ball high and she’s hitting clutch free throws and crashing the boards hard and following shots. She’s really hungry.”
Junior point guard Betsy Gallier and the other Bruins have done a better job of handling pressure this season. Janis cited fast breaks against T.C. Williams in which the ball never touched the floor. Junior guard-forward Marcia Altman has been steady all season.
The Bruins, who last year reached the Northern Region tournament for the first time since the 2005-06 season, get another shot at defending district champion West Springfield on Friday.
The Spartans have won 17 straight in that series, including 48-36 on Dec. 14.
“I think we know we can play with them,” said Janis, due to deliver her first child Jan. 27. “We left the first game kind of feeling like we wanted more. We shouldn’t be scared because of the name on the front of the jersey. Beating teams like T.C. and Annandale that we haven’t beaten in a long time gets the girls feeling confident.”
Unforgettable Friday for South Lakes standout
Not only did her No. 18 Seahawks take over sole possession of first place in the Virginia AAA Liberty District with a 55-45 win at Madison, breaking a six-game losing streak in the series, she found out a couple of hours before the game that she had been accepted to the University of Virginia.
That was not all. Between the schools’ junior varsity and varsity games, parents Ed and Mary Beth Schultz changed sides of the gym. They sat on the Madison side to cheer on twin freshman daughters Jaqueline and Julianne in the junior varsity game, which Madison won, 28-21. They moved to the South Lakes side to cheer on Gabrielle in the varsity game.
The twins, pupil-placed at Madison for the school’s Advanced Placement program, sat with teammates on the Madison side for the varsity game but still supported Gabrielle, who had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Seahawks (13-2, 6-1).
“Friday was a very eventful day,” said Schultz, one of two seniors on the South Lakes team and the only one who had ever experienced a varsity win over Madison. That was her freshman year, when forward Zoe Beard-Fails and guard Marlena Tremba were also ninth-graders on the varsity.
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