Wakefield guard Marqua Walton missed the front end of two foul shots late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 5A North championship against No. 2 Potomac (Va.), which kept the Panthers within three points with about four seconds remaining. He shook his head for a moment after the shots, then smiled at a teammate, knowing that his opponents were truly the ones shouldering all the pressure.
The undefeated Panthers, who had won all 27 of their games, turned the ball over on the ensuing possession — and No. 20 Wakefield escaped with a 70-66 upset over Potomac before a standing-room only crowd in Arlington.
“They came into our house and thought they were going to bully us around,” said Walton, who scored 15 of his 18 points in the final five minutes. “We’re not going to let that happen.”
If it hadn’t done so yet, Wakefield (24-4) announced itself as a state title contender, matching the powerful Panthers (27-1) blow for blow from the onset. Wakefield struggled to contain 6-foot-9 power forward Trey Porter early, as Porter (23 points) used his length and speed to make several high-wire dunks and three-point plays in the first half. But Wakefield went on a 14-3 run to take a 32-28 lead into the halftime, fueled by the relentless inside presence of junior and leading scorer Dominique Tham (18 points).
Senior Jalen Carver added 17 points for Wakefield, which hasn’t lost since the last week in January, and Carver’s free throws pulled the Warriors within 51-49 at the six-minute mark. Walton took over from there. After Porter’s two-handed slam gave the Panthers the lead back two possessions later, Walton scored five points on back-to-back possessions to spot his team a 56-53 lead — and he held a showdown with Potomac guard Torrey Dixon over the next two minutes. The two traded layups, then Dixon (13 points) hit a three-pointer to give his team a 62-60 lead with just more than a minute remaining. Walton answered on the next possession with a three-pointer to give Wakefield the lead back for good.
“In the first half I got into a little bit of foul trouble. When I got back into the game. . . . I was going to have to make big shots,” Walton said. “We had no pressure on us. They had all the pressure on them to stay undefeated.”
— Roman Stubbs
The No. 5 Edison Eagles’ voices in warmups often drown out the music blaring out of the speakers as the girls prepare for action. On Senior Night, they’d decided to add a twist to their boisterous routines and it led to a win. So in Saturday’s 5A North final, they brought it back.
Then Harris quickly got to business, scoring a game-high 17 points as Edison routed rival Mount Vernon, 65-47, to capture its second consecutive regional title.
In their fourth meeting this season, Edison and Mount Vernon played a physical first half, after which the Eagles held a 32-26 lead. They turned the ball over nine times in the third quarter, but held a six-point lead after the period.
Harris scored seven points in the fourth quarter as the Eagles held Mount Vernon to just one field goal. Mount Vernon senior Samantha Porter finished with a team-high 13 points and DJ JeanPierre added 11 points.
“It was all about effort and coming out here and outworking them,” Edison Coach Dianne Lewis said. “We knew we had to rebound hard, and the girls just wanted it.”
The Eagles have been flat-out rolling opponents in the postseason, with three victories by an average of 27 points. They will face the loser of the Princess-Anne and Highland Springs 5A South final Friday. Mount Vernon plays the winner.
— Tariq Lee
The Paul VI boys added the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I title to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference crown they won Tuesday with a 64-56 victory over previously unbeaten Cape Henry in Petersburg.
The No. 3 Panthers (28-6) opened up an early lead that hovered around 10 through most of the game before the Dolphins (26-1) stormed back with a 7-0 fourth-quarter run that cut the lead to four.
But the game then morphed into a foul-shooting battle, and the Panthers hit enough free throws to stay two possessions up through the game’s final minutes.
“The intensity we had and the spirit we brought, no matter how much they came back, we always had the spirit to keep pushing,” said junior Josh Reaves, who scored 10 points in the win.
Kevin Dorsey led the Panthers with 17 points and Marcus Derrickson added 13.
The Panthers have one more title on their 2013-14 checklist: the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament, which begins March 13. . . .
After reaching its second VISAA Division III title game in the last three years, the Christ Chapel boys’ team’s season ended just like it started — with a narrow loss to Millwood, 68-62.
Stephen Brown led the Lions (24-9) with 19 points and Jordan Griggs added 17, but it wasn’t enough to overcome several inopportune turnovers in the second half.
The season-ending victory capped a dominant week for the No. 3 Panthers, who on Tuesday edged St. John’s to win their first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament championship.
Junior Jonquanae Cole added 11 points for Paul VI (29-5), which won its eighth consecutive VISAA title — and 10th in 12 years — and closed its season on a 16-game winning streak.
The Panthers held St. Anne’s Belfield to just 10 points in the first half.
“It was just an awesome way for us to end the season,” Paul VI Coach Scott Allen said.