Freedom-South Riding senior guard Jaelyn Batts made an impact from the start of Friday’s Potomac District championship, but the final minutes of the first half was when it officially became her game.
She was all over the court, throwing herself into battles for loose balls and swatting two consecutive would-be Tuscarora baskets before perhaps her defining play: She stole the ball and converted on the other end with a spin move to energize the crowd in Aldie, Va.
Batts finished with 12 points and dictated the tempo to help the Eagles (25-0) capture their fourth straight district championship title with a 49-38 win.
“I just played as best as I possibly could,” Batts said. “I think being a leader was the best thing I could have done [Friday night] because even when I wasn’t on, everyone else started pitching in.”
Batts controlled the floor, setting up plays on offense, boxing out on defense and shouting directions to her teammates throughout.
The Boston College signee missed the first few games of the season, including the team’s first matchup with Tuscarora, with an ankle injury. When she returned to the floor, she established herself as a top performer in the area, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds.
“She’s extremely strong, powerful — she can get to the rack, and she can jump very, very high,” senior guard Morgann Harden said. “I admire her basketball IQ, and she can play all five positions.”
Her versatility goes beyond her skills within the lines.
Coach Teddy Whitney said Batts has become a mentor and friend to her teammates over the past four seasons, displaying unselfishness on and off the court.
“She used to be very shy, and it took me a long time to get her to open her mouth,” Whitney said. “The game plan today was, ‘Batts, do what you can to get everybody involved,’ and she did that.”
Batts and Harden were named first-team all-district, and Whitney was named co-coach of the year.
Freedom-South Riding will face Stone Bridge in the first round of the Class 5 Region C playoffs Tuesday. Tuscarora (19-5) will play Falls Church.
“We’re definitely hungry, but one foot at a time,” Whitney said.
Angelo Easter scored 22 points as the Freedom-South Riding boys won their third consecutive Potomac District championship, 61-51, over Briar Woods.
The Eagles (15-10) took down previously undefeated Potomac Falls in the semifinals. They will play Stone Bridge in the region playoffs Tuesday. Briar Woods (16-8) will meet Edison.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Freedom-South Riding won four straight Potomac District titles. The Eagles have won four straight district titles, but the first two in that span were in the Bull Run District.