Next school year, 21 of the current Northern Region schools will play in 6A North, a group that might retain the Northern Region name. The other nine region schools (Jefferson, Marshall, Edison, Falls Church, Mount Vernon, Stuart, Wakefield, Lee and Stone Bridge) will play in 5A North and not meet the 6A teams in the conference playoffs.
The first-round pairings:
Robinson (7-16) at Madison (17-8): Two teams in somewhat surprising positions. Robinson won just one Virginia AAA Concorde District game during the regular season but in the district tournament the Rams were able to top Westfield, a team they had lost to by 17 and 22 points. Madison won the Liberty District tournament championship having weathered the season-ending off-season knee injuries to their two leading scorers from a year ago. If the district tournament were any indication, the region tourney should make more followers aware of the clutch play of Madison senior guard Megan LeDuc, who in three Liberty tourney games scored 65 points and made two-game winning shots. Madison beat Robinson in the region quarterfinals last season.
W.T. Woodson (13-12) at No. 14 Edison (20-4): Edison might be one of the more intriguing teams in the field. The Eagles own wins over ranked teams Calvert, Potomac (Va.) and Bowie and also over Patriot District champion T.C. Williams. They have not lost locally, other than to Mount Vernon. But three of the team’s top five scorers are freshmen, and there’s only one senior on the roster, forward Sheila Sherrill, the team’s leading scorer. W.T. Woodson is capable, particularly if senior guard Keara Finnerty is on. She scored 40 points last week in Patriot District semifinal upset of West Springfield. This is the teams’ fourth postseason meeting since 2004.
Wakefield (12-11) at West Springfield (20-4): In a typical season, this first-round matchup would stand out as a mismatch. And maybe it will be. But Wakefield lost this season by four to T.C. Williams, by six to Edison and by four to Mount Vernon. West Springfield, with two freshmen among its top three scorers, has been vulnerable. At the same time, would anyone be stunned to find even a rebuilding West Springfield team back in the region final for a fourth straight year?
Fairfax (16-8) at No.12 Centreville (22-2): This game features two of the best point guards in the region, with Fairfax junior Kylie Murphree and Centreville junior Jenna Green. Green and the Wildcats enter the postseason having beaten Oakton twice in 11 days after not knocking off the Cougars since 1995. Centreville topped Fairfax, 58-35, on Dec. 7. Fairfax has wins over six region qualifiers — Chantilly, Woodson, Robinson, South Lakes, McLean and Madison.