Loudoun Valley High School junior Valerie Murphy is one of the best rebounders in the Northwestern District; that much was apparent in the Vikings' 56-49 victory over host Park View on Tuesday night.

Murphy had a game-high 11 rebounds--the fourth time in five games that she has reached double figures in rebounds--to go with her game-high 19 points in the Northwestern District opener for both teams.

What is up for discussion is what makes the 5-foot-11 forward such a tough rebounder. Here are three reasons.

"She's very athletic," Loudoun Valley Coach Carmel Keilty said. "She's got great timing and a great vertical leap. She worked hard in the offseason to get stronger, too."

"She's always around the basket," Park View Coach Larry Simms said. "She has a knack for knowing where the ball is going to come off."

"I try to get position under the basket," Murphy said. "A lot of people don't try to get in position for rebounds--I know that I don't do that sometimes."

Murphy was dominant for the Vikings, who raised their record to 6-1 overall and 1-0 in the district. She scored 17 of her career-high 19 points after the first quarter. She scored six points during a 12-2 Loudoun Valley run over the final 4 minutes 21 seconds of the first half that turned a 21-17 Park View lead into a 29-23 Loudoun Valley advantage at halftime.

"We were really concerned about Val because she has the ability to score a lot of points," said Simms, whose team fell to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the district. "She is very aggressive on offense and is an excellent offensive rebounder."

Loudoun Valley sophomore point guard Cory Livesay scored 14 points and did a good job running the Vikings' offense, while junior forward Holly Everhart added 11 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward Sara Scandiffio came off the bench to score seven points and added six rebounds.

Park View was led by the Doughty sisters--Crystal, a senior, scored 12 points, while Megan, a freshman making her second varsity start, scored a team-high 14--and reserve guard Danielle Cook (eight points).

Loudoun Valley led, 41-31, at the end of three quarters, but Park View fought back to get to within four, 53-49, with 45 seconds left in the game. But Livesay calmly made two free throws with 33 seconds remaining essentially to put away the game.

"I think we kind of got a little shaky at the end," Livesay said. "But we got it under control in time. Their press surprised us.

"We're working on playing against a press because just about every team in the district will try to press us."

Loudoun Valley (6-1, 1-0)--Livesay 5 4-4 14, Cash 0 2-4 2, McLaughlin 1 0-0 3, Everhart 5 1-2 11, Scandiffio 2 3-5 7, Murphy 6 7-8 19. Totals: 19 17-23 56.

Park View (1-4, 0-1)--Ernst 1 0-0 3, McDermott 1 2-2 4, C. Doughty 2 8-10 12, Cook 4 0-0 8, M. Doughty 6 2-4 14, Henrikson 1 2-2 4, Powers 0 4-4 4. Totals: 15 18-22 49.

Halftime: Loudoun Valley, 29-23.

Three-point goals: Loudoun Valley 1 (McLaughlin); Park View 1 (Ernst).