The Loudoun County High School girls basketball team secured Bob Pingley's 100th career victory as coach of the Raiders early Tuesday night as his team forced 15 first-quarter turnovers and rode a 19-0 start to a 64-32 victory over Handley in a Class AA Northwestern District game in Winchester.
The Raiders' suffocating full-court pressure made inbounding the ball an adventure and bringing the ball to half-court nearly impossible for the Judges. Handley managed one shot attempt during the game's first five minutes, as Loudoun County amassed 13 first-quarter steals. Blair Brewer's free throw nearly seven minutes into the contest finally got Handley on the scoreboard.
"Whenever we picked up the ball, they were all over us," said Laura White, Handley's first-year coach. "It was true full-court pressure from corner to corner. They came at us from all angles."
Staked to a 19-3 lead, Loudoun County (5-0, 1-0) kept the pressure on to start the second eight minutes. When senior Marie Bolton stole the ball and drove the court for a layup and a 30-9 lead, the Raiders finally relaxed, and Pingley took off the press. Bolton played little in the second half but still finished with a game-high 19 points.
"We're getting calmed down, and getting our traps set up better," said Pingley, whose record is 100-43 in seven seasons at the school. Pingley, who coached boys basketball for six seasons at Broad Run in the early 1970s, downplayed the significance of No. 100.
"I'm not going to stay around here for the next 100," Pingley said, laughing. "I retire in two years. I'd like to have a couple more good years with these girls, then I'm done."
Having not played in a week, the Raiders played two games in three days and face another unbeaten district opponent by hosting Liberty tonight as a makeup of last week's postponement due to Hurricane Floyd.
"Liberty can handle the ball, they're taller than us, and deeper," Pingley said. "It'll be a tough game."
The Raiders finished with 25 steals, including 10 by junior guard Stacy James and five by Tara Kidwell. James also added 13 points, and Kidwell finished with 11. Brewer led Handley (4-1, 0-1) with 10 points.
"We'll rebound," said White, who is taking over for a team that has had three consecutive 5-16 seasons. "Tonight we saw [from Loudoun County] what we need to play like when getting the job done in this district."
Loudoun County (5-0, 1-0)--Kidwell 5 0-2 11, James 6 1-2 13, Bolton 9 0-0 19, Baldwin 4 0-0 8, Grimes 2 0-0 4, Shannon 2 0-0 5, Higgins 1 0-0 2, Kelly 1 0-0 2. Totals 30 1-5 64.
Handley (4-1, 0-1)--Polston 1 3-4 5, Sanford 1 0-2 2, Brewer 4 2-3 10, Gibbs 0 4-4 4, Ricketts 2 1-2 5, Almendarez 1 2-2 4, Iden 0 0-1 0, Tremoulis 0 1-2 1, McGinnis 0 1-2 1. Totals 9 14-22 32.
Halftime: Loudoun County, 43-12.
Three-point goals: Loudoun County 3 (Kidwell 1, Bolton 1, Shannon 1).