The Story

The Hylton boys made their first Northwestern Region tournament appearance since 1993-94. The Osbourn boys hadn't gone that far since moving to AAA in 1996. And the Potomac and Stonewall Jackson girls' teams reached regionals for the first time in more than 10 years -- both winning their quarterfinal games.

But in a season that featured new blood in the postseason, it was left to basketball blue blood to carry the Prince William banner into the state tournament.

For the fifth time in eight years, the Potomac boys (22-6) advanced to states, and for the fifth time, they won at least one game. The Panthers handled Woodside, 77-62, before bowing to George Wythe, 73-53, in the semifinal round.

Jason Flagler and Bryan Butler capped standout sophomore campaigns by combining to score more than half of Potomac's points in its two state tournament contests.

"This is a learning experience," Flagler said after the Wythe game, in which Potomac was done in by a nearly three-minute scoreless drought at the end of the first half. "We can't get this far and just crack."

The Northwestern Region champion Woodbridge girls (23-5) reached the AAA semifinals for the second time in four years, dispatching First Colonial, 51-32, before falling to West Springfield, 57-49.

The senior trio of Kathy Clark, Liana Wooten and Kristin Portell led the Vikings, combining for 80 of the team's 100 state tournament points.

"It still feels incomplete," Portell said. "I felt there was a lot more we could have done."

The last Prince William team to win a AAA state championship was the Gar-Field girls in 1997-98.

Kathy Clark, who helped Woodbridge reach the AAA semifinals for the second time in four years, was the All-Extra and Northwestern Region player of the year. The Vikings were 23-5 last season.