Osbourn basketball coach Anne Yeatts knew she had a winning team this season. With five solid starters and strong backup players the Eagles had their strongest team ever. The focus on teamwork and defense led Osbourn (21-1) to the Northwestern Region Championship over Turner Ashby of Dayton, 49-28, last week and into the its first ever Virginia AA state tournament against Abingdon today at 3 p.m. at the Salem Civic Center.
Osbourn's prides itself on its strong defense. The Eagles' Missy Peters played a key role in the final as she shut down B.J. Burkholder, Turner Ashby's high scorer, holding her to five points. Julie DeRamus led the defense with 10 rebounds, five steals and seven assists.
Against Turner Ashby, "We had very balanced scoring and the best defense so far this year," said Yeatts.
The Eagles' toughest game came in the regionals came in the Thursday semifinal victory over Fort Defiance, 49-45. Osbourn felt the pressure going into the game which determined their advancement into the state tournament. Barbara Sudduth, who missed a key basket as the Eagles trailed by two with 12 seconds left, scored a 12-foot jumper at the buzzer to tie it at 41.
Cara Cheatwood's two free throws gave the Eagles and early lead in overtime. Free throw accuracy helped win the game for Osbourn as Tracey Dufrene (15 points, 13 rebounds) made nine-for-13. Loudoun Valley shot 66 percent at the line (21-33).
In the other semifinal game, Turner Ashby defeated Loudoun Valley, Osbourn's Northwestern District rival, 43-29.
In the Region B Tournament Strasburg defeated Prince Edward, 64-35, in the quarterfinals before falling to Buffalo Gap, 58-39, in the semifinals. Buffalo Gap went on to win the final, defeating William Monroe of Stanardsville, 45-43, and advancing to the state tournament. Clarke County fell to William Monroe in the quarterfinal round, 49-30. William Monroe, which gave Osbourn its only loss this season, also advances to the tournament.