The firsts kept coming last week for second-year program Patriot: first senior night, first win over Battlefield and, perhaps best of all, the opportunity for the Pioneers to host their first postseason game.
Patriot (11-11, 4-6) capped the regular season with victories at Broad Run and Battlefield to earn a first-round home game in the Virginia AAA Cedar Run District tournament, which begins Tuesday.
The Pioneers will host Broad Run, a team they rallied from eight down in the final three-and-a-half minutes to top Thursday, weathering a 42-point performance from Spartans junior guard Khiorie Stewart, who hit nine three-pointers that game.
The next night, playing at Battlefield, Patriot pulled out a 67-61 overtime win, their first in the western Prince William County rivalry. The road wins on successive nights came on the senior nights of the opposing teams.
“To prove we can go into tough environments with good crowds and still win was a big deal,” Patriot Coach Daniel Nemerow said. “It’s two in a row and a little bit of momentum going into the playoffs.”
Despite a small senior class at the school, the Pioneers honored seven 12th-graders, including their four leading scorers, at their own senior night last week before losing to Stonewall Jackson.
Many had played for Nemerow when he was at Brentsville, a school that lost students to Patriot. A.J. Cowthran, E.J. Baltimore, Terry Smith and Hamed Ghafoori are among the departing players.
“They kind of laid the foundation for what we’re trying to do,” Nemerow said.
In the other first-round Cedar Run tournament game Tuesday, Osbourn will play at Freedom-South Riding; Freedom won the two regular season games by a total of four points.
The Broad Run-Patriot winner plays at Stonewall on Wednesday in the semifinals and the Osbourn-Freedom winner plays at Battlefield.
The championship is Friday; the semifinal losers will meet in a consolation game Thursday to determine the district’s third seed for the Northwest Region tournament.