The seventh-ranked Eagles won their first six games, but then lost three of four over winter break. Now, they have rebounded to win their last eight by an average of 23 points, entering Tuesday's showdown at No. 2 O'Connell. Gonzaga is playing terrific defense; only two opponents during this streak have reached 50 points and three of the past five have stayed under 40. Senior guard Lorenzo Miles has scored in double figures in every game during this streak and shares the team lead with junior guard Stanley Hodge at 11.8 points per game.
The Panthers (11-2), off to their best start in the school's six seasons, have won their first seven games in the AA Dulles District and take a three-game break with nondistrict opponents. Potomac Falls has yielded 44.9 points per game, which leads Northern Virginia. While they have only two victories over teams with winning records, the Panthers visit Liberty (9-2) and Handley (7-3) in the next eight days as they play their next four games on the road. That stretch should better gauge the Panthers' abilities.
The Yellow Jackets (8-4) have won their first three AAA Cedar Run District games, including a 59-57 decision at Potomac (Va.) on Tuesday -- their first victory over the Panthers since 1988. On Dec. 13, they defeated Gar-Field, 44-42, also for the first time since 1988. The eight victories equals Osbourn Park's total from each of the past three seasons when it went 8-14 each year. Senior forward Adam Hinton-Moore, who leads the team with 15.3 points per game, scored a season-high 24 in the victory over Potomac.
Since losing their season opener, the Eagles have won 10 straight, including Friday's 65-62 Group A Bull Run District game against Manassas Park, in which they overcame a 14-point deficit. Last season, Clarke County won 12 straight en route to a 20-4 mark and its first Region B tournament appearance in seven seasons. The Eagles have not faced the district's other top team -- Brentsville -- because their Jan. 3 game was postponed by inclement weather.