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 decided to add a twist to their boisterous routines, and in Saturday’s 5A North final they brought it back.
Senior Jessica Harris was surrounded by her teammates as she completed the “Nae Nae” dance that went viral and has become widely known thanks to Washington Wizards guard John Wall’s dunk contest celebration.
After leading her team in the pregame routine that sparked a few laughs from the crowd, Harris quickly got to business, scoring a game-high 17 points as Edison routed rival Mount Vernon, 65-47. The win gave the Eagles their second consecutive regional title.
In the fall open gyms, it was clear that Harris and fellow transfer Tatianna Torres both could score, but there was an adjustment period as the two got used to Edison’s style of play.
The transition is complete: The Eagles have been flat-out rolling opponents in the postseason, with three victories by an average of 27 points.
“It took a whole season to do that because the transfers didn’t know our defenses or our offensive schemes,” Edison Coach Dianne Lewis said. “They could both score, but they had to learn our offense and our defense.”
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.
“We were just out of whack and they made their run because every great team makes their run,” Eagles sophomore guard Jada Graves (nine points) said. “But it’s a good thing we didn’t hand it to them — we stayed calm.”
Harris scored seven points in the fourth quarter and the Eagles cut the turnover total to three as they 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.
“We talked about this game beforehand and we knew it wouldn’t be easy,” Lewis said. “It was all about effort and coming out here and outworking them. We knew we had to rebound hard, and the girls just wanted it.”
The addition of the dance has produced three wins for the Eagles: on senior night, a blowout of Freedom-South Riding and now Saturday’s victory.
“I think we’re going to keep doing it,” Harris said. “It’s becoming a routine for us, and it’s fun.”
The Eagles will face the loser of the Princess-Anne and Highland Springs 5A South final Friday at Robinson. Mount Vernon plays the winner.