Already the school's all-time leading scorer, Langley senior guard Will Monica recently has focused on adding to his assist total. He had four yesterday against Madison in the Virginia AAA Liberty District semifinals at Fairfax High, but his ability to put the ball in the basket again was in the spotlight at the end.
Monica, who averages 20.8 points per game, rattled home the game-winning shot with seven seconds left, lifting the third-seeded Saxons to a 57-55 victory over the second-seeded Warhawks. Langley (13-10) will face top-seeded W.T. Woodson, a 56-46 winner over Fairfax, in the 8 p.m. final Monday at Fairfax. Both teams had already secured spots in Wednesday's first round of the Northern Region tournament and are now guaranteed first-round home games.
On Langley's final possession yesterday, with the score tied at 55, Monica was looking to get the ball to senior Mike Housman underneath the basket. Monica's pass from the foul line was off the mark, but Housman gathered it in, and gave it right back to Monica, who angled through the defense to bank home the winning points. He finished with a game-high 18 points.
"We were looking to do a pick-and-roll," Monica said. "They were in a zone defense, but whenever I draw a double-team, I always look to get the ball to Housman."
Madison (13-9) nearly won at the buzzer, but Johnny Ayers's three-pointer rimmed out.
In the first semifinal, W.T. Woodson's Jose Olivero again showed why he is perhaps the region's most consistent point guard, scoring a game-high 17 points. Senior Will Courtney contributed 11 points for W.T. Woodson (20-2), subbing for the foul-plagued front-court starters.
Fairfax ended the season 15-8.
DeHaven Leads Herndon
Although Kyle DeHaven struggled to find her shot for most of the Concorde District girls' semifinal against Oakton, the Herndon senior guard did not hesitate in the final seconds.
With the score tied and less than a minute remaining, DeHaven (team-high 16 points) made a 10-foot jumper and moments later made a pair of free throws to seal the sixth-seeded Hornets' 52-50 victory over the second-seeded Cougars (14-10) in Reston.
With the win, Herndon (10-13) advances to its second straight tournament final and will face Chantilly at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
"I didn't really think about that when I took the last shot," DeHaven said, "and that's probably why it went in."
In the second semifinal, top-seeded Chantilly rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit behind the outstanding play of senior guards Alena Koshansky and Caitlyn Gorski to defeat fourth-seeded Westfield, 45-41.
Koshansky scored a game-high 18 points and Gorski added 14 as the Chargers (18-4) held Westfield to two points during a crucial stretch for the final 9:10 in the game.
"We underestimated them a bit," Gorski said of Westfield. "The first half they came out and totally dominated. But in the second half, we got big rebounds and went for every loose ball, that was the difference." . . .
South Lakes, behind Bo Taylor's 22 points and 16 from Doug McLaughlin-Williams, established a double-digit lead early and rolled to a 70-54 victory over Chantilly in a Concorde District boys' semifinal.
With the victory, the Seahawks (18-5) advanced to the district final, in which it will play No. 6 Herndon Monday (20-1) at 5:30 p.m.. The Hornets defeated Oakton, 61-47.
"It was hard not to look ahead to Herndon," said Taylor, who also had 11 rebounds. "But we came out focused, got up early and did what we needed to do."
In the second game, senior guard Ricky Lucas, the coaches' district player of the year, scored 23 points to guide the Hornets to a comfortable lead midway through the second quarter. Junior Brad Farrell chipped in with 20 points, two of which came on a rim-rattling dunk in the third quarter.
Darrell Nelson and the T.C. Williams boys' team had to wait a long time to exhale. They watched West Springfield's Justin Baker make five three-pointers in the fourth quarter of the Patriot District semifinals at Lake Braddock, finishing with 38 points, but in the end, T.C. Williams came out on top, 75-69.
Nelson finished with a career-high 24 points for the 17th-ranked Titans, who will play No. 8 Hayfield in the 8 p.m. district title game Monday. Still, he was awed by Baker.
"I haven't seen anything like that," Nelson said.
Nelson sparked a personal 6-0 run early in the third quarter that gave the Titans (19-5) a 12-point third-quarter lead. However, Baker helped the Spartans cut it to six by the end of the quarter and the final of his three-pointers made it an eight-point game with 18 seconds to play.
Hayfield (21-2) advanced by beating Lake Braddock, 46-23, with Mike Lee scoring 19 points.
Special correspondent Ashton Williams contributed to this report.