Exams and inclement weather wreaked havoc on area high school basketball last week, forcing the postponement of several games and keeping most teams out of the practice gym much longer than they would like as the season's stretch run hits full stride.

Basketball was put on the back burner for a few days in Loudoun because county rules stipulate that teams cannot practice for more than an hour a day during exams, which end Monday (Thursday's school closings pushed exams back a day).

In order to give Loudoun County students ample study time, the AA Northwestern District did not have any games scheduled for Tuesday night--although they most likely would have been canceled because of the sudden snowstorm that hit the area that afternoon; had that happened, teams would have been forced to play the rescheduled game last night, one day after a previously scheduled game.

"This is a good time for the kids to rest, heal up and forces them to catch up with their [school] work," Loudoun Valley Coach Scott Douglas said, "because there are some things more important than basketball."

Meanwhile, in Fauquier County, students and faculty received an unexpected four-day weekend when schools were closed Thursday and Friday.

Schools are not allowed to play games on days on which classes are canceled, so Fauquier had two games affected by the weather: The Falcons' game last Tuesday at Colonial Forge was postponed, as was their home game Friday vs. James Wood.

Makeup dates should be finalized by Monday.

Like Fauquier, Liberty will wind up having an 11-day break. The Eagles' game Friday at Broad Run was moved to Wednesday night, a day after they visit Fauquier.

"It's not good, having this long a break," said Liberty Coach Paul Frye, whose team has lost six of eight. "But maybe it will be good for us, giving us a chance to shake some of the down times we've had."