Preview: Virginia AAA Northern Region girls’ basketball semifinals
By Preston Williams,
Here’s a look at the Virginia AAA Northern Region semifinals set for 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday at Robinson. The winners advance to the championship Saturday and earn state tournament berths.
Edison (22-4) vs. Centreville (24-2), 6 p.m.: Edison lost three times to Mount Vernon in the National District but has advanced further than the Majors, who lost in the quarterfinals. The Eagles posted the most lopsided victory in the quarterfinal round, a 63-33 win over Madison. Edison has three freshmen among its top four scorers — guards Jada Graves and Megan Hendrick and swingman Raven Moses — and a sophomore, guard Lindsey Krisak, who hit five three-pointers in the quarterfinal. Eight Eagles have scored in double figures this season. Edison last reached the region final in 2007, when it won its second consecutive title.
According to The Post’s internal stat system, which goes back to 2000, Edison and Centreville have not played during that time. Centreville, which entered the season as a capable underdog to Oakton in the Concorde District but beat the Cougars twice, including in the district final, advanced to the region semis with a 54-52 home quarterfinal win over West Springfield, which had reached the last three region finals. Junior guard Jenna Green drove coast to coast for a layin with about seven seconds left. West Springfield, which had rallied from 10 down in the final two-plus minutes, missed a shot, forced a turnover and missed another shot in the final seconds. Centreville has never reached the region final.
Oakton (22-4) vs. South Lakes (22-4), 8 p.m.: Oakton is coming off an undefeated state championship season, but no win during that run might have been as impressive as the 46-36 quarterfinal victory Tuesday night at T.C. Williams hours after the Cougars learned that senior center Elizabeth Manner, who averages 24 points per game, would miss the rest of the postseason with a thumb she broke Monday night against McLean. Oakton regrouped on the fly, hopped on the bus at 5:15 and knocked out T.C. Williams despite missing 600 of the 1,474 points the team had scored this season. “Obviously, you go with your horses,” said Oakton Coach Fred Priester, whose team has won three of the past four region titles. “But you’ve got to have more than one. I pushed the kids pretty hard and asked them to reach outside of their comfort zones and take on more responsibility. I told them if they could see themselves the way I see the them . . . that we could go up against anybody. We always tell the kids we’re not looking for you to do anything spectacular, we’re just looking for you to do your job. It’s up to us as coaches to define what your job is, and sometimes that job changes.”
South Lakes advanced with a 46-45 win at Mount Vernon when junior guard Caitlin Jensen hit a jumper, just her second basket of the game, as time expired. Twice in the final 23 seconds Mount Vernon failed to hit the front ends of one-and-ones that could have padded their one-point lead, according to The Connection, and the Majors came up with a turnover over with seven seconds left before turning it over themselves and giving the Seahawks the opportunity to win. South Lakes and Oakton have not played since 2007, but their school boundaries border each other. The leading scorer for South Lakes this season, junior center Abigail Rendle, lived in Oakton territory but was redistricted to South Lakes. The Seahawks have not reached the region final since 1986, when they won the second of back-to-back titles.