Sisters Megan and Crystal Doughty had never played on the same basketball team until this year, and they came very close to not being teammates for the Park View High School girls team this fall. It's a good thing for Park View that they ended up together.

On Tuesday night, the sisters aided the Patriots in different ways to help their suddenly outmanned team defeat visiting Potomac Falls, 52-45.

Crystal, a senior, had a game-high eight rebounds, but her greatest feat might have been her ability to draw fouls from Potomac Falls defenders, sending her to the line 14 times. She finished with 11 points, second on the team to fellow senior Abby Powers, who had 12 points and six rebounds.

Megan, a freshman, had nine points and six rebounds, but her main contribution came with the game on the line in the last minutes.

The Patriots held a tenuous 46-43 lead with less than two minutes remaining when Megan recovered a loose ball and banked it in to give her team a five-point lead. Fifteen seconds later she converted a free throw to increase the lead to six, providing Park View (4-6 overall, 3-2 in the Cardinal District) with the space it needed to shake off the persistent Panthers (2-8, 1-4).

The Doughtys' emergence could not have come at a better time for the Patriots. Last week, senior guard Alexandra Ersnt broke three bones in her right foot during the team's loss to Loudoun County, and she is gone for the season. Three days later, senior guard Abby Brown sprained her ankle in a pickup game and is expected to miss two weeks, according to Park View Coach Larry Simms.

Both injured players were starters, so the Doughty sisters--usually post players--will be needed to step up and score more.

Before this season, Crystal Doughty had wanted to quit the team out of frustration with her own injuries. She tore her anterior cruciate ligament during her sophomore year and had to miss the entire season. When she returned last year, she sprained her ankle and played sparingly, at the end of games.

But Simms talked her back into playing and thus allowed her the chance to play with younger sister Megan, who is actually three inches taller than the 5-foot-7 Crystal.

"We're usually next to each other in all the stats," Crystal said.

"It makes me strive harder because I know people are expecting a lot from us."

"It's kind of different," Megan said. "It's totally different for me playing with older kids. I've had some trouble with it, but I think I'm getting better."

That was the case Tuesday night, in a very physical game featuring 43 personal fouls. The first half was evenly matched, with Park View taking a 27-26 lead into the locker room. No team led by more than two for most of the third quarter, until Park View started to pull away. Potomac Falls senior center Sarah Bolton, who had 12 points and eight rebounds, answered with two free throws to whittle Park View's lead to 38-35 entering the fourth quarter.

Park View put together another run to extend the lead to seven, but Panthers sophomore guard Katie Brown (14 points) scored two baskets to close the gap again.

"No matter what the scoreboard says, I thought we were the winning team," Potomac Falls Coach Michelle Rearick said, "because we started doing the things this team needs to do. The girls stepped up. I see a difference in their play, and I see more leaders on the floor."

Potomac Falls (2-8, 1-4)--Je. Branson 1 0-2 2, Brown 6 2-5 14, Bolton 4 4-4 12, Tessier 1 2-6 4, Bosma 1 3-6 4, Balla 1 2-2 4, C. Gjormand 2 0-0 4. Totals 16 13-25 45.

Park View (4-6, 3-2)--C. Doughty 2 7-14 11, Cook 4 1-3 9, M. Doughty 3 3-8 9, Powers 3 6-8 12, Nelson 2 0-0 4, Vanderslice 3 0-0 6, Wimmer 0 1-2 1. Totals 17 18-35 52.

Halftime: Park View, 27-26.

Three-point goals: None.