Turning It Around

When the buzzer sounded Wednesday night at Stonewall Jackson, punctuating the Raiders' surprising 51-48 girls victory over unbeaten Stafford, the facial expressions did not necessarily reveal who the winners were.

And perhaps that, as much as the scoreboard, illustrates Stonewall's ascent this season to a 6-5 record after going 3-90 the previous five years.

The Raiders are not content to just win, they want to win the right way. So allowing an 11-point lead in the final two minutes to dwindle to three tempered Stonewall's celebration.

"We've talked about that," Coach Ira DeGrood said. "When we beat someone here earlier in the season, you'd have thought we won the national championship. I want them to expect to win. If you saw us after the Osbourn game, you wouldn't have believed it because there wasn't a smile on the floor. They knew they didn't play well."

Indeed, the Raiders squeaked out a 23-21 victory over winless Osbourn last week, lost by 16 on Tuesday to Hylton and then, just a day later, knocked off Stafford. Stonewall followed that with a 58-35 win over Osbourn Park on Friday.

The team-leading 15.1 scoring average of senior Nikki Bowman is invaluable, as is the emotional leadership of junior forward Martina Millberry, but often Stonewall goes as sophomore point guard Tish Hogan goes.

"When Tish is not on the floor, you can almost see teams [think], 'Okay, now we're going to go after you and press you and trap you,' " DeGrood said. "When Tish is on the floor, our kids get a little uplifted. And other teams respect her game so much, it gets them on their heels a little bit."

"We're like a body," Hogan said. "If we lose a leg, you can't run with [one leg]."

In addition to the six victories, two of the losses have come by five points to Brooke Point (8-4) and by three to Gar-Field (10-2). But the Raiders still are not drawing many fans and, in some cases, opposing coaches. Even though there were no other Cardinal District teams in action Wednesday night, only one rival head coach scouted Stonewall.

"We've talked about that, too," DeGrood said. "I told the kids I go scout, and I see a lot of the coaches there, and in our gym we don't see many. But the bottom line is you have to earn that respect."

Good Move

The transfer of senior Ricky Johnson from Potomac to Osbourn Park not only provided the Yellow Jackets a fine point guard, it allowed junior Mike Littlefield to move to his favored position of shooting guard.

Littlefield has been making the most of the switch. He scored a career-high 21 points Friday night in a 45-42 win at Stonewall Jackson to bump his season average to 11.6.

"Last year Mike had to run the point for us, and moving up from the freshman [team] to the varsity was a big step," second-year coach Eugene Baltimore said. "He did a lot of learning last year.

"When I first got here everyone was saying that Mike is a soccer player, but he's dedicated himself to basketball, and he plays very smart."

Freshman Jahmar Claxton, who posted two double-figure scoring games in the Kiwanis Holiday Classic, missed Friday night's game while serving a team suspension. He also will miss the Woodbridge game Tuesday but will return for the game Friday against Osbourn.

Shooters Plus

Woodbridge junior guards Jimmy Bryant and Shane Staples are best known for their three-point shooting. But the Vikings' two wins this week proved that the duo offers much more than perimeter marksmanship.

Against Osbourn on Tuesday night, Bryant contributed 10 rebounds along with a season-high 11 points, nine of which came on three-pointers. Against Potomac on Friday, Staples canned three three-pointers in the first half and also was aggressive enough to attempt 11 foul shots in the game. Staples finished with a season-high 17 points.

"The coaches tell me that the three is not always going to be there," said Staples, the only Viking to score in every game this season. "I just try to help any way I can."

The same goes for Bryant, but sometimes a three-point specialist tends to get pigeonholed. Coach Will Robinson thought Bryant played the best basketball of his career in the second half of the Osbourn game. He had eight points and seven rebounds those two periods.

But first and foremost, Bryant is a shooter.

"Jimmy's not found a shot that he doesn't like," Robinson said. "So if he has a look, he's going to let it go. We feel very comfortable with him shooting the basketball.

"And obviously he does, too," the coach added with a chuckle.

BY THE NUMBERS

22: Free throws the Stafford boys shot in their 53-49 win over Stonewall Jackson on Wednesday.

1: Free throws Stonewall Jackson shot in that loss.

15.7: Average margin of defeat for the Osbourn boys last season in their seven games against Gar-Field, Potomac and Woodbridge.

5.3: Average margin of defeat for Osbourn this season in its three games against those schools. All three have come on the road.

3: One-point games the Brentsville boys have played this season. The Tigers are 1-2 in those games. There has been only one other one-point game this season involving an area boys team (Osbourn over Stonewall Jackson).

ON TAP

Gar-Field vs. Woodbridge

Two key Cardinal District games show up on the Friday schedule, when Gar-Field plays at Woodbridge in boys and Woodbridge plays at Gar-Field in girls.

In the boys matchup, Gar-Field needs to avoid another district loss if it is to keep pace with Potomac and Woodbridge. The regular season district champion will earn an automatic berth into the Northwestern Region tournament. Woodbridge has won 10 of 13 games in the Gar-Field series the past five years.

In the girls rivalry, Woodbridge had been chasing Gar-Field for years before finally overtaking them to win the regular season district title last year. But Gar-Field beat the Vikings in the district final, earning the Indians the distinction of Cardinal champions.

Not to be overlooked Friday is a Commonwealth District doubleheader, with Brooke Point's teams playing at Stafford. The girls game tips off first, at 6:30 p.m. The Black-Hawks' boys and girls teams are 4-0 in district play; Stafford's boys are 3-0, and its girls are 2-1.

SCORING LEADERS

BOYS

PUBLIC SCHOOL

Player, School Gms. Pts. Avg.

Jernavis Draughn, Potomac 11 260 23.6

Aaron Andrews, Gar-Field 10 166 16.6

David Hooper, Gar-Field 10 165 16.5

Vince Love, Brooke Point 11 180 16.4

Maurice Watkins, Woodbridge 11 165 15.0

Justin Thomas, Brentsville 10 144 14.4

John Horton, Osbourn 12 167 13.9

Melvin Allen, Brooke Point 12 159 13.3

Hugh Parker, Stafford 13 171 13.2

Rudy Kelly, Stafford 13 164 12.6

Mark Cunningham, Potomac 11 137 12.5

Joe Lane, Osbourn 12 150 12.5

Akeem Scott, Gar-Field 10 117 11.7

Ahmad Brooks, Hylton 11 128 11.6

Mike Littlefield, Osbourn Park 10 116 11.6

Jovan Ragland, Stonewall 11 128 11.6

Joaquin Jackson, Gar-Field 10 110 11.0

Anthony Jones, Potomac 11 113 10.3

James Borella, Colonial Forge 12 128 10.1

Kenny Irby, Hylton 11 110 10.0

Chris Tokhi, Stonewall 10 100 10.0

PRIVATE SCHOOL

Jeremy Levesque, Evangel 6 142 23.7

Ben Hastings, Heritage 7 135 19.3

Matt Pophin, Emmanuel 12 210 17.5

Kenny Leatch, Evangel 7 115 16.4

Gary Williams, Emmanuel 12 194 16.2

Mike Wolfe, Heritage 7 108 15.4

Tim Creed, Heritage 7 107 15.3

Pat VanderWoude, Seton 17 257 15.1

Josh Daniel, Seton 17 219 12.9

Jon Levesque, Evangel 7 70 10.0

GIRLS

PUBLIC SCHOOL

Kia Manuel, Gar-Field 11 183 16.6

Kimisha Dabney, Potomac 10 165 16.5

Nikki Bowman, Stonewall 11 166 15.1

Tish Hogan, Stonewall 11 149 13.6

Michelle Barnes, Brooke Point11 138 12.6

Abbey Cunningham, Brooke Point 12 151 12.6

Kanee Booth, Woodbridge 11 136 12.4

Nikki Wells, Gar-Field 12 147 12.3

Christina Carmon, North Stafford 9 97 10.8

Megan Vrabel, Stafford 10 108 10.8

Jennifer Felder, Potomac 11 113 10.3

PRIVATE SCHOOL

Staci Lingo, Evangel 7 122 17.4

Katy Hadro, Seton 14 198 14.1

Megan Patrick, Emmanuel 8 111 13.9

Kierra Culpeper, Emmanuel 8 103 12.9

Tracy Furr, Heritage 6 64 10.7

Mandy Green, Heritage 6 64 10.7

Missy Deardorff, Heritage 6 63 10.5

Mary Spicer, Seton 13 147 10.5

Schedule

Tuesday

Boys

Evangel Christian at Clinton Christian, 4

Stonewall Jackson at Potomac, 7:15

Osbourn Park at Woodbridge, 7:15

Hylton at Gar-Field, 7:15

Quantico at Md. School for Deaf, 7:15

Fauquier at Colonial Forge, 7:30

George Mason at Manassas Park, 7:30

Brentsville at Madison County, 7:30

Culpeper at North Stafford, 7:45

Girls

Evangel Christian at Clinton Christian, 4

Quantico at Md. School for Deaf, 5:30

Potomac at Stonewall Jackson, 7:15

Woodbridge at Osbourn Park, 7:15

Gar-Field at Hylton, 7:15

Stafford at Osbourn, 7:15

Colonial Forge at Fauquier, 7:30

North Stafford at Culpeper, 7:45

Wednesday

Boys

Woodbridge at Brooke Point, 7:30

Friday

Boys

Heritage Christian at Tabernacle, 6

Hylton at Potomac, 7:15

Gar-Field at Woodbridge, 7:15

Osbourn at Osbourn Park, 7:15

Quantico at Emmanuel Christian, 7:15

Manassas Park at Strasburg, 7:30

Rappahannock at Brentsville, 7:30

Brooke Point at Stafford, 8:15

North Stafford at Colonial Forge, 8:15

Girls

Quantico at Emmanuel Christian, 5:30

Heritage Christian at Tabernacle, 6

Brooke Point at Stafford, 6:30

North Stafford at Colonial Forge, 6:30

Potomac at Hylton, 7:15

Woodbridge at Gar-Field, 7:15

Osbourn Park at Osbourn, 7:15

Jan. 22

Boys

Heritage Christian at Bethel, 10 a.m.

Hatboro-Horsham (Pa.) at Potomac, 7:15

Loudoun Valley at Brentsville, 7:30

Gar-Field at Roanoke-Crestar Classic

Scores

Yesterday

Boys

Hylton at King George

Brentsville at Potomac Falls

Seton 71, Notre Dame 44

Tabernacle at Heritage Christian

Girls

Potomac at Woodbridge

Notre Dame at Seton

Tabernacle at Heritage Christian

Friday

Boys

Woodbridge 70, Potomac 54

Osbourn Park 45, Stonewall 42

Gar-Field 81, Osbourn 74

Stafford 73, North Stafford 37

Brooke Point 73, Colonial Forge 26

Clarke County 49, Brentsville 48

Randolph-Macon 58, Quantico 44

Shenandoah Valley 66, Emmanuel 51

Seton 76, Fred. Christian 55

Evangel Christian 60, Tabernacle 44

Girls

Stonewall 58, Osbourn Park 35

Gar-Field 66, Osbourn 29

North Stafford 55, Stafford 50

Brooke Point 56, Colonial Forge 16

Shenandoah Valley 59, Emmanuel 50

Seton 60, Fred. Christian 34

Evangel Christian 55, Tabernacle 23