Osbourn Girls' Victory
Snaps a Couple of Streaks Headed into a game last Wednesday against Gar-Field, a team they had gone 0-16 against since joining AAA, the Osbourn girls' basketball players were on an 11-game losing streak and still looking for their first win of 2003.
"We knew we'd win again," senior guard Stephanie Gaynord said. "We didn't know when it would be, but we were hoping soon."
That elusive victory came against the Indians, 46-45, on a late Gaynord free throw and a missed Gar-Field layup in the final seconds, prompting a boisterous celebration from the Eagles, whose four wins this season had all come against Colonial Forge and Brooke Point.
"We felt like we let one slip away against [Gar-Field] last year," Osbourn Coach Barry Sudduth said in reference to a 52-44 loss, a game the Eagles led by six at the half. "It's a tremendous win for us. We've been on a losing streak where we've been close in many ballgames and just not able to get over the hump."
The Eagles lost by 12 points or fewer in six of the 11 games, including all three against the Cedar Run District competition. A 17-point loss Monday to Hylton marked the first outing for a few Eagles since Jan. 17, because of exams and a trip that depleted the squad for lopsided losses to Forest Park and Woodbridge.
It might have been more than coincidence that Gaynord, the Eagles' leading scorer, was not the top points producer in the upset of Gar-Field. Senior forward Lydia Sumner (16 points) was.
"If Gaynord has to score our points, we're not going to do well, because people are keying on her," Sudduth said. "For us to be successful, Laura Dwyer and Lydia have to be successful inside and Ali Southards and Katie Lee have to be successful."
With Cardinal vs. Cedar Run regular season play completed, the Cardinal girls went 29-3 against the Cedar Run, with the three losses by a combined nine points -- Gar-Field by six to Stonewall, Gar-Field by one to Osbourn and Hylton by two to Osbourn Park.
The Cardinal boys went 18-15 against the Cedar Run, including one game in a holiday tournament.
Someone and Something Missing The Stonewall girls will play the rest of the season without senior forward Jeanette Robinson, who was averaging 10.8 points and was a first-team all-Cedar Run selection last year.
Coach Yvette Baggett declined to elaborate on the departure, a personnel loss that will make it more difficult for the Raiders to make a second consecutive trip to the Northwestern Region tournament.
While missed layups, missed free throws (58.9 team percentage) and turnovers have nagged at Baggett all season, there has been perhaps an even more troubling development.
"My kids have to want it, and that's been a factor," she said. "That's one of the questions I have. You have to get after it and want it. I don't know. Sometimes I wonder. Sometimes we have great practices and sometimes we have terrible practices and keep making the same mistakes. You're supposed to get better as the year goes on."
Finish or Be Finished After winning nine of their first 13 games and ending long series losing streaks against Gar-Field and Potomac, the Osbourn Park boys have dropped five straight but still sit atop the Cedar Run standings. The Yellow Jackets play Stonewall on Monday, Potomac on Wednesday and Osbourn on Friday. If they win out, they would secure a Northwestern Region tournament berth.
"We've had mental letdowns in the fourth quarter," said Coach Dan Lawray, whose team has been outscored 95-53 in the fourth periods of the five losses. "We've been giving up a lot of transition buckets and not being as aggressive offensively. It's not a good time [of the season] to be doing that."
Lawray is hoping that junior guard James Broderick, who has 44 three-pointers, can return from an ankle injury in time for the district tournament, if not sooner.
Big Addition The Woodbridge boys have been without injured starters Andre Bratton and James Prince in recent games, but a player better known for his contributions to another sport has provided a lift for the Vikings.
Senior forward James Terry, a running back-linebacker who signed Wednesday to play football at the University of Virginia, has scored 33 points his past four outings headed into last night's game against Forest Park.
Terry, who rushed for 914 yards last fall and totaled 84 tackles in eight games in being named Cardinal District defensive player of the year, missed much of the basketball season while recovering from ankle surgery.
"I'm just trying to play hard and help them rebound, and play defense and get loose balls," Terry said. "I'm not much of an offensive player. I get a lot of putbacks."
Rivalry Over? Manassas Park has long been considered Brentsville's main rival, but in recent years the Clarke County games have been the most prominent dates on the calendar. The teams have split games the past two seasons -- with the outcomes in the past three regular season meetings coming by a grand total of nine points -- and again each are vying for the Bull Run District title. Brentsville knocked off the Eagles on Monday.
Unless the teams schedule each other out of district, the series will end after this season, because the Tigers will move to AA for 2003-04.
"I told [Clarke Coach Brent] Emmart before the game that this is going to [stink] because I don't have a rivalry like this going into the Northwestern District," Brentsville Coach Doug Poppe said after the recent 37-33 win over the Eagles. "A Monday night and this gym is packed. That's great. It's fun high school basketball."
Five of the Tigers' six in-state losses this season have been to AA or AAA teams.
Under Pressure In the waning seconds of a recent game, with the outcome in the balance, Seton boys' coach Dan Vander Woude was designing a play that entailed using sophomore Joe Daniel as a decoy. This was an unthinkable ploy to Daniel, who let it be known that he wanted the ball.
The Conquistadors did not need a last-second shot Thursday in a 42-41 home overtime win against Quantico that broke a three-game losing streak, but it was Daniel who hit the game-winner, burying a three-pointer from the right corner with 2 minutes 20 seconds to play in the extra session. Daniel had missed a shot just before the buzzer that could have won the game in regulation.
"I like being under pressure," said Daniel, who has about 60 three-pointers this season. "I want to carry my team on my shoulders. I like having pressure on me, and I like to deal with it. I just love gambling. I love taking chances."
"You can't teach that attitude that he has," said Vander Woude, whose team against Quantico also got a season-high 15 rebounds from junior Michael Duda. "He just has that instinct as a shooter that he likes pressure. I don't know if he's nervous, but he never shows it. He wants the ball. He doesn't need a whole lot of time because he has a quick release and good concentration."
The drama-craving Daniel was probably envious of Quantico senior Garrett Keniry, who was fouled on a three-point attempt with 0.3 seconds left in overtime and his team down by three. Needing to sink all three shots to force a second OT, Keniry made the first two free throws but missed the third.
"When I bent down to shoot it, I felt like I had it, and right when I shot it I knew it was too short," said Keniry, who played all 35 minutes. "It was a tough position to be in, no doubt."
"In that situation, if there's anybody I want to shoot the foul shots, it's Garrett," Warriors Coach Paul Roy said. "We didn't lose it at the foul line."
-- Preston Williams