Tigers Boys Gain
Regular Season Title
With his team tied at halftime Thursday against Madison County, a foe his squad had beaten by 26 points earlier this season, Brentsville Coach Doug Poppe put the situation into perspective for the Tigers, who with a win would snare their second straight regular season Bull Run District title.
"One team already didn't take advantage of the situation," Poppe said, in reference to former district co-leader Clarke County losing at Manassas Park earlier in the week. "Let's not be the next team to do that."
Brentsville gave up just 10 points in the second half of a 46-35 win over the Mountaineers to secure the district regular season title, earn a bye into the Bull Run tournament semifinals and claim an automatic Region B tournament berth.
The Tigers, keyed by three-pointers from seniors Ramsey Boyd and Brian Owen and putbacks by senior forwards Sam Huff and Colin McCarron, went on an 11-0 run in the second half. Brentsville is 32-4 in district regular season play the past three years.
The Tigers have Manassas Park to thank for not needing a playback game to determine the regular season champion. Cougars senior guard J.J. Dufour sank a three-pointer at the buzzer from the top of the key Tuesday for a 50-48 win over Clarke.
The first time the teams met, Clarke grabbed 27 offensive rebounds; this time, just nine. Manassas Park drew 10 charges, including five by junior guard Ivan Fitchett and four by Dufour. Senior guard Sidney Welch scored 25 points to pace a team that recently lost key scorers to academic difficulties.
Clarke, ranked in the top five in the state a couple of weeks ago, might have been deflated for Tuesday night's game. The Eagles lost Monday to new Loudoun County AA school Heritage, which was 0-18.
Tigers Ready for AA
Speaking of AA ball, Poppe thinks the Tigers might fare better than some expect with their move to the AA Northwestern District next season.
"It will be tougher at double-A, but winning is winning, and once you start winning [like we have] I think they'll just play harder next year and do what they have to do to win," he said. "In this [Bull Run] district, going to rinky-dink gyms -- those are tough places to play."
The question is whether rivalries with Manassas Park and Clarke County will continue. The Northwestern District schedule will consist of 12 games, and Brentsville plans to play two games in Williamsport, Pa., next season, as well as three in its own Dudley Martin Chevrolet Holiday Classic. The Tigers also like to schedule AAA Osbourn Park, which provides a stiff challenge and a bigger payday at the gate than most smaller school opponents. And there has been talk of a home-and-home series with Hedgesville, W.Va.
Poppe said one way to salvage the rivalries would be for Manassas Park to rejoin the holiday tournament field and for Clarke County also to play in the event.
"There maybe wouldn't be as much at stake, but there'd be a championship at stake," Poppe said.
All in the Family
While Potomac boys' coach Kendall Hayes can look forward to three more years of coaching his son, freshman Eric, Potomac girls' coach Mike Adkins's opportunity to coach his daughter, senior Stephanie, could end this week.
It's uncommon to have a parent-child combo on the same high school team, let alone one such combo on both of the school's varsity basketball teams.
"Kendall's got a lot of the same relationship with Eric that I have with Stephanie," said Adkins, who also has coached his daughter almost every summer in AAU ball. "Both listen to us real well. I'm real fortunate I have Stephanie as mature as she is, and Eric is the same as a freshman with Kendall. It's his mental game as much as his physical game. Kendall, like I do, treats his son like I treat my daughter -- as another player when they're on the court.
"There have been a few issues along the way with parents thinking you play your son or daughter too much, but you play kids to situations and strengths and try to improve on their weaknesses, whether it's Stephanie or anyone else."
The younger Adkins showed one of her strengths Tuesday night by canning a three-pointer in the final seconds of a 53-52 win over Osbourn that kept the Panthers' hopes alive for a Cedar Run District regular season title. Adkins, who leads the team in assists and is second in rebounding, has 25 three-pointers this season.
Potomac has been without several players, missing for various reasons this season, but has been able to use a more steady rotation in recent games. The Panthers also have reverted to playing more man-to-man, a departure from earlier in the winter.
"A lot of kids know their responsibility in man better than in a zone and stay more active when they play a man," Adkins said. "That translates into a few more turnovers for the other team and more transition baskets."
Bures Goes to the Top
On a recent unofficial softball visit to the University of Tennessee, Stonewall Jackson junior guard Courtney Bures got to spend several minutes chatting with Pat Summitt, who last month became the first coach in women's college basketball history to win 800 games.
Summitt spoke with Bures and another potential recruit, as well as the players' family members, as the Vols ran through drills at a practice. Bures already had read Summitt's book "Raise the Roof: The Inspiring Inside Story of the Tennessee Lady Vols' Undefeated 1997-98 Season" and currently is reading her "Reach for the Summit: The Definite Dozen System for Succeeding at Whatever You Do."
"It was so cool," Bures said. "I've been watching her teams play for as long as I can remember. She wants to win, and that's always a good thing, but I like her because what you see is what you get with her. She's always looking out for her players' interests, and I think that's what I would want in a coach."
Bures scored 20 points Wednesday in her team's 43-38 win at Osbourn that snapped a four-game losing streak. She was the 2002 All-Extra Softball Player of the Year for leading Stonewall to a 20-4 record and state runner-up finish. The All-Met went 18-2 and batted .463 with 31 RBI.
-- Preston Williams