Loudoun County girls edge Turner Ashby, 41-40, to advance to AA Division 4 final

By Matt Brooks
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, March 10, 2011; 12:33 AM

RICHMOND - When Loudoun County all-time leading scorer Brittany Batts was whistled for her fifth personal foul with 2 minutes 41 seconds remaining in a Virginia AA Division 4 girls' basketball semifinal against Turner Ashby, her team was down by six and things looked bleak.

But the No. 16 Raiders refused to back down.

After cutting the lead to one point with 31 seconds left, the Raiders capitalized on a pair of missed front ends of one-and-one free throw attempts. The second sent junior Erica Linnemann sprinting downcourt, where she flipped a right-handed runner off the glass with five seconds remaining to give the Raiders an emotional 41-40 victory at VCU's Siegel Center on Wednesday morning.

"I still can't really believe it happened," Linnemann said. "Someone else was open, but I was trying to get fouled. It just dropped in."

Batts - whose 28 points lifted the Raiders (26-4) over Eastern View in the quarterfinals on Saturday - struggled against the defense of Turner Ashby junior Cassidy Burkholder.

She finished 3 of 20 from the floor and scored nine points. In her place, Linnemann (nine points) and junior Alex Lapple (eight) made key baskets to keep Loudoun County from falling too far behind. Meantime, junior Casey Cummings continued her recent dominance on the boards (13 points, 15 points). Still, the Raiders trailed 38-30 with 5:28 left in the game as the Knights (19-9) began to drain the clock.

But after throwing away a chance to take the lead with 12 seconds left, the Raiders capitalized.

"When I was sitting on the bench I wanted to get out on that court so badly," Batts said. "But I never thought we were going to lose that game when I went out; I knew they could pull it out."

Loudoun County will try to capture its second state title in three years when it faces Liberty Saturday in a rematch of the Region II final won by the Raiders, 56-40.

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