Virginia girls’ basketball: Chantilly accumulating confidence, wins

January 13

After winning nine games last season, Chantilly wanted to put a swift end to the familiar feeling of losing heading into the 2013-14 campagin. And in 11 games, the Chargers have already matched last season’s win total.

On Friday, Chantilly (9-2) upset then-No. 7 Centreville, 46-45, with a pesky man-to-man defense that was able to hold Wildcats leading scorer Jenna Green to 15 points. It was the Chargers’ first win over Centreville since Jan. 14, 2011.

It was a confidence-building win for a Chargers team that lost to strong Northern Region opponents Fairfax (9-3) and McLean (12-0) in December. Chantilly fell to the Highlanders in the final of the Pohanka Chantilly Classic, which it hosted.

“That game we went into feeling good about our play in the tournament and as a team,” senior forward Kelsey Young said of the loss to McLean. “It was sort of a wakeup call as we were going into district play.”

No. 17 Oakton (12-1) and No. 12 Centreville (11-2) have been expected to lead 6A Conference 5, but the young Chargers enter the conversation with their win on Friday.

The top plays from the week of basketball in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. (Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)

“We’re not a secret anymore,” Chantilly Coach Kurt Sporkmann said.

Sporkmann has watched a team with just three seniors grow together and learn to share the ball. The unselfishness begins with freshman lead guard Mary Clougherty, who is averaging 6.6 points per game and has posted a 1-1 assist-turnover ratio.

Aiding in Clougherty’s growth is Young, who leads the team in scoring at 10.8 points per game. A dual-sport star, Young is orally committed to George Mason’s soccer program.

The two-year captain started last season and said she wanted things to be different for her final year on the hardwood.

“We kind of agreed to change certain things, and with so much potential the atmosphere changed,” Young said. “We thought we had a shot in the conference with the shooting ability and freshmen coming in and three experienced seniors.”

The Chargers have turned that potential into victories, and with matchups against Herndon (2-8) and Robinson (5-6) this week, Chantilly is ready to surpass last season’s win total.

“Our conference has a bunch of really good teams,” Young said. “We just want prove that we’re really a good team and not something to joke about.”

Around the area

Two future Division 1 players, McLean’s Maia Lee (Old Dominion) and Fairfax’s Kylie Murphee (Richmond), meet in their 6A Conference 6 opener Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. . . . Led by Ra’Sheika Gregory (16.3 points per game) and Maddy Zdebski (15.3 points per game), West Potomac (8-3) faces two top 20 teams in Centreville Monday night and No. 10 West Springfield (12-0) Tuesday.

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