For a boys basketball team that has been using full-court defense for just two weeks, Loudoun Valley High School certainly looked well versed in the virtues of trapping and pressing during a 65-34 win over host Warren County on Tuesday night.
The Vikings (7-2 overall, 4-0 in the AA Northwestern) had only one personal foul at halftime and built a 36-11 intermission lead behind junior Kevin Culbert's 11 points, coasting to a district victory.
Putting pressure on opponents has become easier since Loudoun Valley Coach Scott Douglas took some off Jeff Hedrick by removing the 6-foot-6 center from the starting lineup four games ago.
"It's something the kids wanted to do," Douglas said of the change. "We aren't the quickest of teams but have some good pressers. You can gauge the success of the press by how little we are fouling in it."
Hedrick was key coming off the bench Tuesday, finishing with eight points.
"We have the depth to do this," Douglas said. "I played 13 in the first half and 13 in the second half."
The Vikings forced 11 first-quarter turnovers and 10 more in the second quarter from the winless Wildcats (0-7, 0-4), who had not played since a loss at Broad Run on Dec. 17.
"We tried to deny the sideline, then intercept the diagonal pass," Douglas said of the pressure. "We have two phases: the trap phase and the recovery phase."
Both phases were working for Loudoun Valley, as the Wildcats consistently made poor passes attempting to escape the trap, then, when breaking the press, Viking outside defenders were able to get back and frequently knock the ball away.
The pressure wasn't a surprise to Warren County.
"These kids have seen pressure [defense] since they were in the seventh grade," said Wildcats Coach Jim Moose, who is in his 25th year. "If there's one thing I've learned, if they can't handle pressure then, they're not going to handle it now."
Warren County's frustration boiled over with 36 seconds remaining in the first half, when guard Josh Carter slammed the ball down after turning it over and drew a technical foul.
Douglas also had some frustrations, despite Loudoun Valley's defensive effort.
"I don't think we played that well offensively," Douglas said. "And we missed enough free throws [10 of 25] to make a coach go crazy."
Culbert had a game-high 13 points, and Anthony Long and Dan Hyatt added nine. Travis Kidd chipped in with eight. Harrison Wood led Warren County with 10.
Loudoun Valley (7-2, 4-0)--Harper 1 0-0 2, Long 4 0-0 9, Culbert 6 1-2 13, McKay 1 3-6 5, Dorsey 2 0-0 4, Ripley 0 1-2 1, Barton 2 0-0 4, D. Kidd 0 2-2 2, T. Kidd 2 3-4 8, Hedrick 2 4-4 8, Hyatt 4 1-5 9. Totals 24 15-25 65.
Warren County (0-7, 0-4)--Carter 2 0-0 4, Logan 2 3-4 7, Disch 2 0-0 4, Wood 4 1-2 10, Diamond 2 0-0 5, Anderson 1 0-0 2, Henline 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 4-6 34.
Halftime: Loudoun Valley, 36-11.
Three-point goals: Loudoun Valley 2 (T. Kidd, Long); Warren County 2 (Wood, Diamond).