With an undefeated season and title once again at stake on Friday night, the fourth-ranked Cougars (31-0) this time completed the task, defeating the Cavaliers, 58-39, to win their first Virginia AAA championship and first for a Northern Region team since West Springfield accomplished the feat in 1999.
“The ending of any season is always kind of sad, but I was crying tears of joy going into the locker room,” All-Met senior Caroline Coyer said. “This win is for us, it’s for Coach [Fred] Priester and part of it is for all the players at Oakton who had strived to win a state championship and come so close.”
In 2009 and 2010, Oakton had to contend with Cavaliers’ 6-foot-3 standout Elizabeth Williams.
With Williams playing this season at Duke (where she won ACC Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year honors), Priester didn’t have to employ any special game planning. Just line up against the person in front of you, he said, and win that battle.
The Cougars undoubtedly did so, even with their best player, Coyer, ceding the spotlight to others. The Villanova recruit finished with nine points and gladly let the Cavaliers’ defense focus on her in order to give others favorable match-ups.
The main beneficiary was her twin sister, Katherine Coyer, who poured in a game-high 24 points. Katherine Coyer’s ability to get to the rim was complimented by the inside play of Elizabeth Manner, who finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
“Not everyone is going to play their best every single game,” said Katherine Coyer, who will join her sister at Villanova. “As much as that’s what you want, that’s not going to happen. Someone always has to step up and I was lucky enough it was me.”
The title is Priester’s first in 28 seasons as a coach, the last 18 with Oakton, and he said in the waning moments of the win he recalled a sign from when the New York Rangers won a Stanley Cup in 1994 that read, “Now I can die in peace.”
“I’m not ready to die just yet,” said Priester, the 2008-09 All-Met Coach of the Year. “But when the time comes, I think this will be something I’ll hold very close to my heart.”
Complete state tournament coverage at AllMetSports.com