By Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 23, 2007
Northern Region girls' basketball fans who had hoped for a championship pitting All-Met guards Jasmine Thomas and Doreena Campbell will get just that.
Thomas's fourth-ranked Oakton team and Campbell's third-ranked Edison squad posted victories in the Virginia AAA Northern region semifinals last night at Patriot Center, setting up the first high school matchup between the two decorated players. Neither team has lost to a region opponent this season.
In the first semifinal, defending region champion Edison trailed by three early in the second half before closing the third quarter with a 16-2 spurt in a 59-47 victory over T.C. Williams, the Eagles' tightest margin against a region opponent. Campbell, a UCLA recruit, had 20 points and 15 rebounds.
In the second game, Thomas, a four-time region player of the year and a Duke recruit, scored 33 points to pace her team's 56-45 victory over No. 18 Marshall, whose season ended in the region semifinals for the second straight year.
"I think the Edison-Oakton is going to be probably one of the greatest games for girls' basketball," said Edison Coach Dianne Lewis, whose team is vying to become the first back-to-back region champion since Madison in 1995 and '96.
"I guess the people are going to finally get to see what they wanted to," said Thomas, who surpassed 2,500 career points last night. "But for us, we're still trying to stay focused on doing what we're supposed to do."
In its game against T.C., a rematch of the 2006 region final, Edison (27-1) used its usual triumvirate -- defense, steals and rebounds -- to spur its run in the third quarter. Junior Adria Crawford finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds, and junior Chasity Clayton scored 11 points.
Only three players managed field goals for T.C. Williams (19-9). Sophomore guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored 20 points points on 9-of-30 shooting. She also had 11 rebounds. Junior Rachel James added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Marshall, which because of bus problems did not reach Patriot Center almost 7:30 for a scheduled 8 p.m. tip-off, pulled within two points of Oakton four times in the second half, the last time with four minutes to play. Each time, the Cougars (26-1) answered, snapping the Statesmen's 19-game winning streak.
Senior guard Nicole Harrison led Marshall (23-5) with 24 points.
Regional Semifinals Key Injury: Edison was playing without starting point guard Shawnee Lewis, a junior who slipped on the ice last week and sustained a concussion, then sustained another one Tuesday when she collided with a Madison player. Lewis, the daughter of Coach Dianne Lewis, was not in attendance last night and is likely to miss the region final. Up Next: Edison and Oakton will play in the region championship at 9 p.m. tomorrow at Patriot Center. By reaching the final, both teams have qualified for the state tournament, which begins next weekend.