It was a sort of curious domination. Oakton has been a perennial region contender, for sure, but Centreville has been a solid program for much of that time yet could never squeeze past the Cougars despite facing them at least twice a season.
That’s why so many Centreville players kept repeating to each other, “We just beat Oakton. We just beat Oakton,” after the 49-38 home win last week.
Even girls from other teams who turned out to watch the game seemed pleased at the result, Wildcats junior point guard Jenna Green said.
“Walking by and shaking every single one of those [Oakton] girls’ hands and knowing that every time you shook their hand before they’d always been the winner and this time you were on top was an amazing feeling,” said Green, who scored 22 points.
“Especially [Oakton Coach Fred Priester]. He’s an awesome coach and just shaking his hand knowing you just defeated one of the best coaches around is a great feeling.”
Oakton senior center Elizabeth Manner scored 27 of her team’s 38 points. Centreville senior forward Tori Collar and others tried to prevent Manner from scoring easy baskets as she had in the Cougars’ 65-48 win over Centreville on Jan. 18.
“As a team, we played smarter this game,” Green said. “We didn’t take as many bad shots. We passed the ball around more and got an open shot.”
Centreville (20-2) and Oakton (19-3) very likely could meet in the Concorde final on Friday at Robinson.
With a win over Falls Church on Tuesday in the Virginia AAA National District quarterfinals, Wakefield could earn its first region tournament berth in years, thanks in part to a defense that held opponents to 47 points or fewer 15 times.
The Warriors have played some of the better teams in the region to close losses, falling by four to No. 6 Mount Vernon, by six to No. 9 Edison and by four to Patriot District contender T.C. Williams. Seven of the 10 losses have been to ranked teams, including Oakton, No. 10 Potomac (Va.) and No. 11 Calvert.
The Warriors have done it with defense, holding 10 teams to 37 points or fewer. Senior guard Nahdeya Quarles was named to the district’s all-defensive team and junior forward Michelle Noel has scored nine or more points in each of the past 10 games, including season highs of 24 against Stuart and 23 against Yorktown.
“I can’t say enough about the kids and their willingness to play defense,” said Wakefield Coach Marcia Richardson, five years into her second stint of leading the program. “A lot of teams, particularly young teams, don’t buy into it and try to score all the time and not try to stop someone.
“People are rotating the right way, working as a group as a collective unit on defense. I am pleased that the entire team has embraced the defensive effort.”
Wakefield, playing its final season in its current gym, split games with Yorktown and W-L this season, snapping a 17-game series losing streak against the former and a 15-game series losing streak against the latter, based on box scores reported to The Post.
The winner of the district quarterfinal between Yorktown and Washington-Lee will earn a region tournament berth. The two teams each beat the other by 12 points this season.