JOHN COSTELLO

Broad Run, Guard, Junior

* Memorable single-game performance from 1998-1999 season: Last January, he scored a game-high 19 points in a 69-60 loss to Madison. But Costello has tried to erase the Spartans' 21 losses from his memory. "The whole year seemed like a down year," he said. "It's hard to find any positives."

* No. 1 goal for 1999-2000: "Go out every night and play as hard as we possibly can," Costello said. "We feel that we're good enough to play with any team in the district and if we go out and play as hard as we can, then we can go out and get a win. . . . I'm really team-oriented. I've been through so many losses [last season] that my goal is to win as many games as possible."

* Strengths: "He could shoot the ball pretty well," said Fauquier Coach Wayne Brizzi, who watched Broad Run play in a tournament last season. "He seemed like he was quick and a pretty good shooter."

* Weaknesses: "He's real strong on the offensive end, but he needs to get stronger on defense," said Costello's father, John Jr., who is an assistant coach for the boys team.

* Favorite move: The pull-up jump shot. At 5-foot-10, Costello is often guarded by taller defenders and thus forced to create space for his shot. "I do most of my shooting off the dribble," he said.

* Player he most tries to emulate: Growing up in Yonkers, N.Y., just outside the Bronx, Costello saw a number of future college and pro basketball stars play in the local Catholic league. Among those Costello said influenced him are: former St. John's standout Felipe Lopez, former NCAA player of the year Elton Brand of Duke, and current New Jersey Net Stephon Marbury. "It was unbelievable," Costello said of the opportunity to watch such talented players. "The way they could handle the ball and pass the ball, it was on a whole other level."

ANTHONY LONG

Loudoun Valley, Guard, Senior

* Memorable single-game performance from 1998-1999 season: Scored a team-high 15 points as Loudoun Valley beat Handley, 69-66, in the Region II championship.

* No. 1 goal for 1999-2000: To reach the state tournament again. Though this season's team is young, "We've been playing together a lot," Long said. "We all played summer league together. We did really well against a lot of the teams we will be playing [this season]. We did a lot better than I thought we would, so I think we can do well in our district."

* Colleges he is interested in: The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill--though the lifelong Tar Heels fan realizes that attending the Atlantic Coast Conference school and playing basketball there is unlikely. Long hopes to earn a football scholarship, and he may attend Fork Union Military Academy for a year.

* Strengths: "His basketball IQ is very high," said Fauquier Coach Wayne Brizzi. "He's a very good athlete. He could score, he could hit the three and he's athletic enough to hurt you off the dribble. But the key about him was that he was smart enough to play his role."

* Weaknesses: "His one-on-one defense," said Loudoun Valley Coach Scott Douglas. "Whether man-to-man or zone [defense], he needs to contain his man."

* Favorite move: Long lived off the three-pointer last season. This season, he has been looking to perfect the medium-range jump shot. "I'm trying to be more consistent," he said. "The three is there one night but not the next. I'm just looking for something a little more consistent. [I can] drive in and look for the open person if someone comes across."

* Favorite place to play pickup basketball: The Loudoun Valley gymnasium, before school starts. About 10 players gather shortly before 8 a.m. and play until the opening bell.

JEFF SCHWALM

Park View, Center, Senior

* No. 1 goal for 1999-2000: To continue playing solid defense and improve his offensive skills. "The last couple of years I've been mostly a defensive player, but the coach told me he needs me to step up my offense."

* Colleges he is interested in: Radford, Salisbury State.

* Strengths: "Blocking shots and rebounding the ball," said Langley Coach Brian Doyle, whose team faced Park View last season in the AAA Liberty District. "Any high school coach is looking for players who can do that. I'm glad he is not in our district anymore, but if he were he would definitely be one of the best post players in the district."

* Weaknesses: "He's got to get more aggressive offensively," said Park View Coach Ken Edwards. "He's not as aggressive as he should be at his size."

* Favorite move: On offense, it is the drop-step, where he spins off a defender and goes up for a shot. "I like to get up and dunk the ball," said the 6-foot-7 Schwalm. How often does he actually gets such an opportunity? "Not a lot." On defense, Schwalm loves to block shots, something he has nearly perfected, judging by his school-record 10 blocks in a single game last season.

* Player he most tries to emulate: Growing up, Schwalm's favorite player was in neither the NBA nor a big-time college program. It was his older brother, Chris, who played center for Loudoun Valley. Schwalm has modeled much of his game after his brother and frequently seeks advice from Chris. "When I was in middle school he started on the varsity team," Schwalm said. "He basically taught me how to block shots. That was a favorite [move of his]. . . . I would always sit in the crowd and watch how they'd get excited, and I'd say, 'When I play, I want to do that.' "

MARCUS WILLIAMS

Fauquier, Guard-Forward, Junior

* Memorable single-game performance from 1998-1999 season: In a Group AA Region II quarterfinal, Williams led the Falcons over Robert E. Lee, 57-53, scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds. With a Lee guard barreling down on him, Williams converted a layup to give Fauquier a three-point lead with five seconds left.

* No. 1 goal for 1999-2000: "Personally, hopefully I'll make all-district," Williams said. "As a team, to make it back to [regionals] and even further."

* Colleges he is interested in: None--yet. Williams has not begun his college search but has received inquiries from North Carolina-Wesleyan, Shepherdsville and Longwood.

* Strengths: "It looks like he is the go-to player for them, and he has responded well," said Park View Coach Ken Edwards. "His strengths are that he uses his size and strength around the basket, anywhere from about 12 feet in."

* Weaknesses: "We want him to do a little more rebounding and [defend] someone inside," Fauquier Coach Wayne Brizzi said.

* Favorite move: "The Dead Step." Williams takes a quick dribble in one direction before pulling up for the jump shot. "When I need a shot, I go to that move."

* Favorite place to play pickup basketball: Liberty High School, which on Sundays holds an open gym that frequently gives Williams an opportunity to go up against a lot of older and bigger players from throughout the area. Playing there "definitely helps your game," he said. "It helps you get stronger."

* Player he most tries to emulate: Former University of Arizona player and current Houston Rocket Michael Dickerson. "I like the way he played, how calm he was on the court," Williams said. "I hope to be that calm. It says that you have a lot of character, that you don't get frustrated easily."