Court Report District Tournament Previews
As the only AAA Northern Region boys' basketball team with a perfect regular season record against region opponents, No. 2 T.C. Williams (18-3 entering this week) begins the postseason as the team to beat in the region.
The Patriot is matched with the National District, and the Liberty District meets the Concorde District in the first round of the Northern Region tournament, which begins Monday with games at the higher seed.
Weather permitting, district play continues with semifinals tonight, and the four district finals are tomorrow night.
Favorites: Herndon (18-2) swept its dozen district games by an average winning margin of more than 20 points. Sterner tests, however, may await, considering the Liberty District is very deep. Wing Mo Hubbard is a standout for Westfield (15-5), though some opponents have had success by crowding his space.
Sleeper: Led by strong guard play, Chantilly (12-9) is 5-1 in games decided by four points or fewer.
Favorites: Perhaps the key to beating W.T. Woodson (15-6) is to turn the game into a track meet. The Cavaliers scored fewer than 70 points in 14 of their wins; in eight wins they scored under 60. South Lakes Coach Wendell Byrd, in his final season, has more wins (440) and region titles (six; he also has 12 district titles) than any current Northern Virginia coach. The Seahawks (15-6) played a tough non-district schedule and have the depth needed to endure Virginia's rigorous postseason.
Sleeper: Langley (11-11) lacks postseason experience but has a potent offense when shooting guard Ryan Davenport gets hot.
Favorites: This district has carried a stigma in the recent past, but its 10-6 mark in games this season against the Concorde District is an eye-opener. Edison (19-3) handed defending region champion Herndon its only defeat. Wakefield (19-3) split its regular season meetings with the Eagles and ran off a 13-game winning streak at mid-season. This 1-2 punch is as powerful as any other district.
Sleeper: Mount Vernon (15-6) was 7-2 outside the district and 3-2 against Patriot opponents.
Favorites: Scoring punch, leadership at guard and full-court defensive prowess make T.C. Williams the class of the region. West Springfield (17-5) does not have a defining win but is loaded with seniors.
Sleeper: Lake Braddock (16-6) is the most intriguing team in the tournament. It struggled down the stretch without injured point guard Dominic Morra (ankle). The Bruins lost two of their last five, and won by one point and in overtime against losing teams. Morra is expected back for the tourney. Coaching against Bruins Coach Brian Metress and veteran assistant Don McCool is never easy.
-- PAUL BERGERON