Girls’ basketball: Stonewall Jackson bests Forest Park in Virginia AAA Northwest Region semifinal
By Roman Stubbs,
Stonewall Jackson’s Nicole Floyd waved her arms and shouted “slow,” on an offensive possession late in the fourth quarter against Forest Park on Thursday night. Her team was winning by double digits, and after going full throttle all game, Floyd not only wanted her team to preserve the win, she also wanted to bask in a landmark moment for her program.
Floyd was relentless, scoring 27 points in a 68-47 win in the Virginia AAA Northwest Region semifinals at Manassas..Amanda Hinton added 15 as the Raiders clinched a berth in the state tournament.
But first the Raiders will host the region championship Saturday at 7 p.m. against Colonial Forge, which overcame 23 points from Amber Porter to beat No. 8 Potomac (Va.), 68-49.
“This is one of the big ones,” Floyd said. “We got further this year than we did last year.”
Stonewall Jackson (22-3) was prepared for a different type of contest three months after beating Forest Park, 65-50, in the second game of the season. The stakes were raised Thursday, but the result was nearly identical. Floyd scored 18 points in the first half, including a personal 6-0 run in the final two minutes of the second quarter to give her team a 32-22 advantage at intermission. She scored 10 of her points off offensive rebounds.
“I already knew that the game plan for them, it’s usually the game plan for everyone to double team, and triple team down,” Floyd said. “So the game plan was to get offensive boards and putbacks and to look for the open man . . . I just made that the priority.”
The Bruins (19-8) struggled to get Breyana Mason — Prince William County’s all-time leading scorer — touches in the first half. Much of that was due to a number of fresh defenders that Stonewall ran at Mason, notably sophomore Sydney Jordan, whose six-foot frame gave the Virginia recruit a test. Mason still scored 24 points, and received a standing ovation after being substituted out at the end of the game.
“She’s the best player. She’s going to, like, get her points,” said Jordan, who finished with eight points. “The goal was to make all her shots as difficult as possible. It doesn’t matter who we play. We’re going to come out and play Stonewall basketball.”
Forest Park closed to within 52-43 on a Mason runner with 3 minutes 30 seconds to play, and seemingly had the momentum to make a final push, but that’s when Floyd helped calm her team down. Stonewall Jackson ran methodical sets for the rest of the game, and Hinton scored seven points to key a 11-0 run the next two minutes to seal the berth to the region final.
“It’s very exciting,” Floyd said of advancing, “But you know, you gotta stay poised.”
Northwest Region boys
Battlefield defeated George Washington-Danville, 95-89, behind 25 points from junior guard Trevor Blondin. Sophomore Kam Hedgepeth added 22 points for the Bobcats (19-8), who never trailed in the second half and held off a late rally to secure a spot in Saturday night’s 7 p.m. region final. They’ll meet host Mountain View, which took down Stonewall Jackson, 67-59, in the other semifinal. Stonewall Jackson, which had won 11 straight heading into Thursday’s contest, finishes 19-7.