South Lakes is entering perhaps its toughest week of the regular season. The 16th-ranked Seahawks (11-2) will play at Centreville (6-8) on Tuesday, host No. 19 Hayfield (11-2) on Wednesday and visit No. 12 Herndon (12-1) on Friday. The Hornets handed South Lakes its only AAA Concorde District defeat, 57-49, on Dec. 20.
This stretch could not come at a better time for South Lakes. After losing consecutive games over the winter break, the Seahawks have won seven straight by an average of 17 points, including 86-64 at Annandale on Friday.
"We're playing for March," South Lakes Coach Wendell Byrd said. "We're trying to get ourselves in a position to do something there."
Hayfield, a nondistrict opponent, will be a good measuring stick for South Lakes. The Hawks beat South Lakes twice last season, including a 71-55 win in the AAA Northern Region semifinals.
But the bigger game for the Seahawks will be Friday's. Another loss to Herndon, which is undefeated in the district at 5-0, would drop South Lakes two games behind -- perhaps a deficit too tough to overcome for the district championship. Byrd said his team needs to play more aggressively than it did the first time against Herndon.
"We tended to play more conservatively," Byrd said. "If we'd shot foul shots better and made some shots down the line we would have won the game."
South Lakes will need more big games this week from senior forward Doug McLaughlin-Williams, its leading scorer (15.8 points per game), who has scored at least 21 in each of the Seahawks past three games. Herndon held McLaughlin-Williams to only nine points in the teams' first meeting.
-- Alan Goldenbach