Broad Run 62, Potomac Falls 48
When Broad Run hosted Potomac Falls last month in the first meeting between the top boys' basketball teams in the AA Dulles District, the Spartans were ready to put on a show in front of their home crowd, which had seen only two games by that point in the season. The problem was, each Spartan wanted to put on his own show, and one-on-one play doomed Broad Run in an 11-point loss.
When the Spartans visited Potomac Falls on Friday night, they made certain to play a more team-oriented game. The result was a more-balanced scoring attack and a commanding 62-48 victory, during which Broad Run led for the final 29 minutes. The result tied the Spartans (16-5, 11-1) and Panthers (18-4, 11-1) atop the Dulles District at the end of the regular season, forcing a one-game playoff at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Heritage.
Although only the starting five made their way onto the Broad Run score sheet, the Spartans were much tougher to defend. Ryan Koppel led them with 16, followed by Kirk Melvin's 15, Nader Alhooie's 12, Brian Colleran's 11 and eight from Ryan Ball.
"The first time, we just went one-on-one with them," Melvin said. "It wasn't working for us. We practiced working together as a team."
In the first game, Potomac Falls broke a halftime tie by scoring 19 of the first 24 points in the third quarter, which put Broad Run on its heels.
"Being on our home floor and down, we kind of got lax," Melvin said. "That's how it was. It turned into everyone saying, 'I can do it. I can do it.' But it would never work well. Ever since that game, we've played more as a team."
Friday, Potomac Falls helped the Spartans by playing a man-to-man defense, which forced Broad Run to look inside and not only settle for long jump shots.
"If we move the ball and set picks, we know we're tough to beat," Alhooie said. "It's a team offense that we have to run."
At the other end, Broad Run showed a zone to Potomac Falls, which prefers to force the ball inside. Even though the Panthers easily attacked Loudoun Valley's zone and made 59 percent of their shots in a 66-41 victory Wednesday, they struggled against Broad Run.
"I think my kids were a little surprised to see zone at first," Potomac Falls Coach Jeff Hawes said. "I think our standing around on their zone carried over to the other half [of the court] for us, and we didn't play as stingy defense as we usually play."
The winner of tomorrow night's game will receive an automatic berth in the Region II tournament, which begins Feb. 25.
If that game is postponed until Tuesday, which is when the district tournament is scheduled to begin, the tournament will be shortened. Only the district's top four teams -- Potomac Falls, Broad Run, Park View and Loudoun Valley -- will participate. The semifinals would be Thursday with the championship and third-place game Saturday at Heritage.