The Loudoun County High School girls basketball team was not trying to rub it in Tuesday night against visiting Potomac Falls. It simply was trying to prepare for tonight's showdown with rival Loudoun Valley.
Led by junior guard Stacy James, who scored 12 of her game-high 15 points in the first half, the Raiders pounded Potomac Falls, 58-21. Loudoun County improved to 18-1 overall, 12-1 in the Northwestern District. Potomac Falls fell to 2-16, 1-12.
Loudoun County can wrap up the district title tonight at 7:30 in Purcellville.
"We wanted to get on them early and get some other people in the game," said Loudoun County Coach Bob Pingley, whose team led at halftime, 44-4. "I didn't think we were real ready tonight, and I got on them before the game a little bit about moving their feet and getting ready . . . They responded well."
Led by sophomore forward Katie Baldwin (10 points, 10 rebounds), who scored six of the first 10 points, Loudoun County jumped to an 18-0 lead. Potomac Falls scored its first point on a free throw by Sarah Bolton (eight points, seven rebounds), but James (six steals) scored four of the next six points to give the Raiders a 24-1 lead after one quarter.
Loudoun County continued its assault in the second quarter, scoring the first 11 points and taking a 39-3 lead with less than two minutes left in the first half. Senior guard Marie Bolton did much of the damage, hitting two layups and a three-pointer. The 5-foot-6 captain also had three steals and two rebounds.
"Marie is an extremely smart player," Pingley said. "She knows offenses and defenses, and she anticipates well. . . . She's our leader on and off the court."
Potomac Falls got off to a quick start in the third quarter, scoring four of the first five points, but Loudoun County went on a 6-0 run to put the game out of reach. The Panthers made things interesting in the fourth quarter as junior guard Elizabeth Bosma scored six of the first 15 points. But junior guard Tina Shannon scored three of the last five points to give the Raiders a 37-point victory and set up tonight's showdown with Loudoun Valley (16-3, 11-2), which defeated Warren County Tuesday, 47-29.
"Everybody gets pumped up for Loudoun Valley," said Bolton, whose Raiders have won six of the last eight meetings, including 63-31 Oct. 12. "It doesn't matter what the teams are like, it's always a tough game. . . . [Tonight's] game is really big because it's Valley and also because we can win the district. That's been our goal all season."
Loudoun County--Kidwell 4 4-5 12, James 6 3-5 15, Bolton 4 0-0 10, Baldwin 5 0-0 10, Forsythe 1 0-0 2, Shannon 2 1-2 5, Higgins 0 0-2 0, Barthelemy 1 0-0 2, Grimes 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 8-14 58.
Potomac Falls--Swanstrom 1 1-2 3, Ja. Branson 1 0-0 2, Balla 1 2-3 5, Bosma 2 3-4 8, Je. Branson 2 0-0 4. Totals 7 6-9 21.
Halftime: Loudoun County, 44-4.
Three-pointers: Loudoun County 2 (Bolton 2); Potomac Falls 1 (Bosma 1).