W.T. Woodson boys, Edison girls rally late for Virginia AAA Northern Region championships
By Brandon Parker,
Even before Saturday, this year’s W.T. Woodson Cavaliers had already grasped history.
The second state tournament berth, the first Northern Region title-game appearance in three decades, the highest win total (23) in seven seasons
nine years — all coming along the backdrop of the school’s 50th anniversary.
But with Saturday’s riveting comeback at Robinson, a 75-70 overtime win against Wakefield for their first outright Virginia AAA Northern Region crown, the Cavaliers didn’t just make history; they rewrote it.
Down by as many as 22 points in the second half, Woodson stormed back behind sharpshooting (eight three-pointers), sound execution and strong defense that helped the Cavs outscore Wakefield, 26-7, in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t know what was going on out there for us to get down by so much, but we knew we had to focus,” said Cavaliers senior Peter Murray, who earned tournament most valuable player honors with 16 points. “I kept screaming that this game wasn’t over and we just kept getting shots and building and building.”
Wakefield (24-5) built a 52-30 lead in third quarter behind an impressive performance by Khory Moore, who finished with 37 points. But the Cavaliers came out strong in the fourth, scoring the quarter’s first nine points. After consecutive layups by Eric Bowles, Murray drained a three to tie the game at 59 with 1 minute 11 seconds remaining.
Moore scored the first bucket of overtime but Damian Bell and Tommy Stepka hit consecutive threes to give Woodson a 65-62 advantage. From there, Murray’s four points along with four Woodson free throws gave the Cavaliers just enough cushion to hold on for the improbable win.
Edison’s girls needed their own second-half charge to pull off their region championship win. South Lakes junior center Abigail Rendle (14 points, 12 rebounds, nine blocks) came out strong on both ends, thwarting several shots to help hold Edison without a field goal in the first nine minutes while South Lakes (23-5) built a 26-9 lead. But when Rendle went to the bench with foul trouble in the second quarter, the Eagles (24-4) began to chip away.
A Lindsey Krisak three-pointer just before halftime proved to be the spark for the Eagles, who opened up a 17-5 run to take the lead in the third quarter. Jada Graves led the surge, crossing over opponents and nailing three three-pointers en route to 22 of her 23 points in the second half.
South Lakes responded with 6-0 run to retake the lead early in the fourth quarter, but consecutive three-pointers by Krisek and Megan Hendrick put the Eagles back ahead and on their way to the region crown.
“We came out slow but we just kept believing that the game wasn’t over,” Graves said. “We weren’t attacking because of [Rendle] inside, but once she got in foul trouble, we started playing with a no-fear mentality that brought us back.”