Fourth-ranked Oakton advanced to the state semifinals for the sixth time since 2001 with a 73-65 Virginia AAA quarterfinal win over Central Region runner-up Monacan at Robinson on Friday night.
Oakton Coach Fred Priester said this might have been the most difficult of those six consecutive quarterfinal wins.
In a game that featured 11 ties or lead changes in the first 12 minutes of the second half, Oakton finally pulled away after senior Caroline Coyer made a long two-pointer and a three-pointer around two free throws by freshman guard Karlie Cronin, points that gave the Cougars a 63-56 lead with 2 minutes 4 seconds left.
Oakton (29-0) went 10 for 10 at the line in the final 1:06.
Coyer and twin sister Katherine, each bound for Villanova, combined for 49 points; 34 came in the second half.
They also teamed to go 16 for 16 at the foul line and grabbed 20 rebounds. Junior center Elizabeth Manner added 11 rebounds.
“Caroline and Katherine have been here before,” Priester said. “This is their third state tournament. They’re supposed to come through in the clutch. I’ll give them a hug for it, but that’s what they’re supposed to do.”
The Cougars advance to face either Woodside or William Fleming in the semis at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Siegel Center in Richmond. Those teams play their quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at William & Mary.
Senior guard Gabby Harris led Monacan (24-6) with 22 points.
When Logan Battle weaved through the lane and banked in a layup among three defenders to cut the deficit to four early in the fourth quarter, it looked like the Georgetown-bound forward would be able to will West Springfield back into its Virginia AAA quarterfinal against Highland Springs.
As they had done all game, however, the Springers (29-1) answered that basket with a run of their own, and the ninth-ranked Spartans couldn’t claw back in a 53-46 loss at VCU’s Siegel Center in Richmond.
West Springfield (26-4) struggled to overcome mistakes. The Spartans had 18 turnovers that resulted in 22 points for Highland Springs, which also had 11 second-chance points. “We hurt ourselves,” West Springfield Coach Bill Gibson said.
Battle, who was being double- and triple-teamed inside, didn’t get enough help from outside looks. The Spartans shot 2 of 12 from three-point range.
The loss ended the high school careers of two of the area’s top players, Battle and All-Met guard April Robinson, a Duquesne recruit. Battle finished with a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds. “We have grown so much over these four years,” Battle said. “Separately and together as a team. This year was special for the four seniors. . . . This year it felt like it was a whole entire family. We loved each other so much.”
Tenorio reported from Richmond.