GAME OF THE WEEK
Liberty at Loudoun County, Thursday, 7:30
Hurricane Floyd pushed this game from last Thursday to this Thursday, which turned out to be a good thing for both teams: Liberty Coach Ellen Chapman could hardly speak because of laryngitis last week, and two of Loudoun County's tallest players (5-8 Kim Grimes and 5-10 MacKenzie Kelly) were out with injuries.
Everyone should be ready to go for Thursday's game, which is the first meeting of the season between two of the Northwestern District's strongest teams. Both teams love to press and feature super-quick, defensive-minded guards.
Liberty and Loudoun County have finished among the district's top three teams in each of the past three seasons. The Raiders have not lost to a Northwestern District opponent at home since Oct. 14, 1997, when Sherando won, 47-43.
Eagles' Jones Learns From Best
Liberty High School sophomore Randi Jones is such a big fan of the University of Tennessee's women's basketball team that she said she almost cried when she watched Duke upset the Lady Vols, 69-63, in the NCAA Tournament last year.
So imagine Jones's excitement when she attended basketball camp at Tennessee in early July, along with her teammates Jenny Gray and Jen Olinger. Jones got to meet one of her favorite players, Tennessee guard Semeka Randall, and play on Tennessee's home court.
"The camp keyed me in on some things that I hadn't really applied before. Like cuts--how to make good, strong cuts. Or defense--how important it is to stay with your man," Jones said. "But just being there at Tennessee was so good. It makes you want to strive to be better."
Jones has gotten better--through the first four games, the 5-foot-7 forward leads a balanced Liberty team with 16.3 points per game. Last year, Jones averaged 5.2 points as a reserve. She says she has improved her ball-handling skills, as well as her shot.
"Randi showed signs of being a scorer last year," Liberty Coach Ellen Chapman said. "Having Jenny [Gray] at point guard has helped. Jenny is so quick defensively and is an excellent passer that she has given Randi and Danielle [Tapscott] lots of opportunities to score."
Chapman Joins Century Club
Chapman quietly won her 100th game as a head girls basketball coach Monday, when the Eagles beat Spotsylvania, 69-30. There was no celebration after the game--her players didn't find out about the milestone until Tuesday morning, during announcements at school.
"It's pretty neat," Chapman said. "I wasn't going to tell the players [before the game] because I didn't want them to go out there and try to win just because of that."
Chapman, whose career record is 100-46 (.684), has been the Eagles' head coach since the school opened in 1994. It is Chapman's seventh season as a head coach--she coached Fauquier High School for one season before moving to Liberty--and her seventh season of working with assistant coach Sarah Frye.
"I've been fortunate to have Sarah as my assistant all this time," Chapman said. "She has to take part of this as well."
A Bad Run for Broad Run
Life was supposed to get better for Broad Run once it moved from Group AAA Liberty District to Group AA Northwestern District this season. But so far it hasn't: The Spartans have lost all five of their games--three by a combined nine points--and the team's top forward will be out for a month with an injury.
Broad Run lost to Massaponax, 43-42, Sept. 8. Senior guard Jessica Gordy, the team's leading scorer, had a clean look at the basket, but her shot at the buzzer went in and out. On Tuesday, Massaponax sophomore Lazhai Stewart hit a shot with one second left to give the Panthers a 41-39 win.
"It's hard to lose two close ones," Coach John Costello said. "It's a terrible feeling because of what we've been through. . . . We've been in about every game we've played."
But the biggest blow came in the first minutes of the Spartans' 52-46 loss at Clarke County on Wednesday, when junior Erin Korte, a 5-11 forward who was averaging 6.5 points, suffered a broken hand.
"She was really starting to come on," Costello said. "She was starting to get some blocks."
An Ever-Growing Injury List
Broad Run isn't the only team that has been hit with injuries. Loudoun Valley 6-0 sophomore forward Kristen Carlson, who scored a total of 21 points in the Vikings' first two games, injured her foot at practice two weeks ago and hasn't played since. Coach Carmel Keilty isn't sure when she will return.
Potomac Falls junior point guard Angela Tessier missed the Panthers' 58-33 loss to Chancellor on Tuesday with a badly sprained ankle. Loudoun County junior forward Kim Grimes injured her back in Monday's 60-40 win over Brentsville and was forced to miss Tuesday's 48-42 victory over George Mason.
Sophomore forward MacKenzie Kelly, the Raiders' tallest player at 5-10, also missed Tuesday's game because of severe shin splints. Coach Bob Pingley is hopeful both Grimes and Kelly will be able to play Tuesday.
BY THE NUMBERS
3: Consecutive games in which Loudoun Valley 5-11 junior forward Valerie Murphy has gotten more than 10 rebounds.
10: Points by which Loudoun County trailed defending Group A champion George Mason at the start of the fourth quarter Tuesday. The Raiders rallied to win, 48-42.
44: Percent of Broad Run's season point total scored by senior Jessica Gordy. The 5-7 guard has scored 94 of her team's 212 points.
"It feels like we've been on the road for three weeks," said Park View Coach Larry Simms, whose team just completed a tough stretch of three road games: at Loudoun County (40-minute round-trip bus ride), Courtland (four hours and 40 minutes) and Chancellor (four hours).
All games begin at 7:30
Liberty at Spotsylvania
George Mason at Loudoun Valley
Warren County at Potomac Falls
Broad Run at Liberty
Loudoun County at Handley
Loudoun Valley at Park View
Courtland at Park View
Potomac Falls at Broad Run
Handley at Loudoun Valley
Liberty at Loudoun County
* Sept. 28
Broad Run at Loudoun County
Liberty at Warren County
Park View at Handley
Potomac Falls at Loudoun Valley
AREA LEADING SCORERS
G Jessica Gordy
G Marie Bolton
G Randi Jones
F Katie Baldwin
G Danielle Tapscott
G Lis Bosma
F Holly Everhart
AA NORTHWESTERN DISTRICT