Pizazz? Well, no.
Good solid teamwork? Absolutely.
That's what did it last weekend for the girls basketball team from Robinson High School in Fairfax County as the team captured its second state title in a row, defeating E.C. Glass of Lynchburg, and Gar-Field of Woodbridge.
The boys' team from Lee High School added to Fairfax County's trophy case by winning its first state title, when it upset two pretournament favorites, Patrick Henry of Roanoke and Booker T. Washington of Norfolk.
For Robinson, the state title was the third in the last five years, and the victory was sweet but somewhat expected.
"Were we uninspired?" asked Robinson coach Addison Carley, repeating a question about his team's methodical destruction of two opponents. "I don't really think so. But, you know, we're in a no-win situation at Robinson. People expect us to win. If we don't, they say we blew it. When we do, people say we were supposed to anyway.
"Is that what's known as a 'Catch-22'? The girls knew they were expected to win, they knew they could win, so they did."
In Thursday night opener in Charlottesville, Robinson defeated E.C. Glass 70-34, and in the final game Saturday, outgunned Gar-Field 69-56.
The consistency of Carley-coached teams has been phenomenal. Last year, Robinson won 27 games and lost only one, while this season's record was 24-2.In four of the last five years, Robinson has won the Northern Region championship.
Such accomplishments have helped make Robinson -- and Northern Virginia -- a favority recruiting around for college scouts. Already, two Robinson seniors, Debbie Young and Teresa Rouse, have won college scholarships for their baseketball ability. Young has signed with the University of Virginia, while Rouse is bound for North Carolina State.
Carley says that youngsters as talented as Young and Rouse make his success easier.
"I felt all along that this was the best team I ever had," says Carley. "I had four really outstanding players (Young, Rouse, Kim Skala and Julie Brown), plus several others who were better than average. But we lacked intensity once in a while and it cost us two games."
Robinson showed enough intensity in the state tournament to burst into early leads in both games and easily launch its trademark -- a running game. By half time against E.C. Glass, Robinson was ahead 37-12. Against Gar-Field, Robinson grabbed the lead in the first quarter and ran it to 49-33 by the third quarter.
Carley, his team and the players' parents celebrated the victory with a post-game steak dinner in Charlottesville. Then they drove home, officially ending their four-month season about 2 a.m. last Sunday.
"I don't even want to see a basketball for another two weeks," said a tired but happy Carley.
While the Robinson girls did the expected with characteristic ease, the Lee boys performed the unexpected with characteristic intelligence.
The consensus among the Virginia basketball crowd was that Lee's unusual style -- a slowpaced, carefully patterned offense combined with a defense designed for any occasion -- would never make it against the running-and-gunning teams from Patrick Henry and Booker T. Washington.
Going into the playoffs, Lee coach Charlie Thompson conceded that his team had to "control the tempo" to win. He hoped that a deliberate pace on the offense and varied defenses would confuse and frustrate opponents.
Thompson was right.
"We took away their confidence in both games by changing our defenses and never giving them a chance to set up offensively," Thompson said.
By switching defenses from man-to-man, to various zones, to combinations, Lee broke the rhythm of Patrick Henry, a team that had lost only once in the regular season. Even so, that first victory was a cliffhanger, with Lee finally defeating Patrick Henry 61-60.
The same tactics led to a 50-46 upset of Booker T. Washington, the highest scoring team in the state.
"They hadn't played anybody with our flexibility," said Thompson. "They weren't used to close games either. We were. We've been in them all year."
Thompson added: "We felt we could win by playing smart basketball and we did. That's what Northern Virginia has to offer -- smart basketball."