Over the past two years, the Woodgrove girls’ basketball has established itself as the preeminent team in Loudoun County. Not long ago, that distinction belonged to Freedom-South Riding, which powered its way to consecutive state championships in 2009 and 2010.
But following three matchups with then newly opened Woodgrove in 2011, Arnelle Collins and the current crop of Freedom players had yet to get another shot at their the Wolverines — until Friday night.
Keyed by a blistering start and a 15-point night from Collins, the Eagles earned a rare road win in Purcellville, dealing the Wolverines their first lost of the season with a 47-41 victory.
“It means the world. I’ve been wanting to do this since I was a freshman,” said Collins whose Eagles lost their last meeting at Woodgrove in Dec. 2011. “For it to be my senior year and to beat Woodgrove, it’s amazing.”
Even though Freedom (11-1) has lost just once this season, Collins believes other teams in Loudoun County haven’t showed the Eagles much respect. Defeating a team like Woodgrove, she said, might change that.
“Everyone in the county doubts us. We’re underdogs,” Collins said. “To give them their first loss is icing on the cake.”
An early bucket from Collins in the fourth quarter gave the Eagles (11-1) a 12-point lead with 7:28 left to play in the fourth quarter. But Woodgrove answered with a late rally, led by forward Sarah Root, who scored eight of her 10 points in the final period.
The Wolverines were able to cut the Eagles’ lead to 44-39 but it wouldn’t be enough. It’s the first loss suffered by Woodgrove (12-1) this season.
The Eagles jumped on the Wolverines early and led 20-5 at the end of the first quarter. They held a 29-17 advantage at halftime.
“They got the better of us,” Woodgrove Coach Kevin Copley said. “In the first half they took it to us and we didn’t respond.”
In the first half, Freedom-South Riding received a second consecutive standout outing from senior Nicole Zubovich. She scored all 14 of her points in the game’s first two quarters, which followed a 24-point outburst earlier this week against Heritage. Nine of her 14 points came on three three-pointers.
“We were moving the ball a lot and I got some open shots,” Zubovich said. “We got the other team’s defense moving around.”
Brooke Basinger, who leads the Wolverines with 13.5 points per game, returned to the court after a bout with the flu but managed only four points . Linsey Fagan scored a team-high 11 points to pace the Wolverines, who were without Halle Lynch, who is recovering from a concussion.