When Potomac Falls center Ian Anderson committed his second foul just four minutes into Friday’s Virginia Class 5 quarterfinal game, Coach Jeff Hawes sat him for the remainder of the first half. Anderson itched to return as he watched his team’s lead evaporate.
“It’s definitely frustrating knowing that you can have an impact out there but, due to circumstances, you have to sit on the bench,” Anderson said.
In the fourth quarter, he let out that frustration in the form of an offensive eruption. Anderson powered through double teams and any other obstacles to score 11 of his 18 points in the final period to propel Potomac Falls to a 52-45 victory over Potomac at Rock Ridge High.
No. 13 Potomac Falls (27-1), the Class 5 Region C champion, began the game on an 11-0 run. But when Anderson, a 6-foot-7 junior, checked out of the game, Potomac (18-8) took control, freely roaming the paint to score 10 straight points and eventually take the lead.
“For a minute, I thought it wasn’t our night. The kids were very tentative, like almost waiting to be trapped instead of attacking their traps,” Hawes said. “Even after being up 11-0, we were ecstatic to be tied at half.”
Down six at the end of the third quarter, Potomac Falls needed a spark. On a night when leading scorer Landon Hawes struggled, the team turned to Anderson.
“We’ve been hunted all night,” Hawes said. “If we’re going to go down, let’s be the hunter for one quarter.”
Potomac Falls switched from man-to-man to zone defense and hunted the ball like Hawes wanted, which resulted in multiple steals and a 15-3 run to start the fourth quarter. Anderson scored all 11 of his fourth-quarter points in that stint, while Potomac mustered just six points in the entire quarter. Anderson’s late emphatic dunk silenced Potomac for good.
“Kids put it in another gear,” Hawes said. “I wasn’t sure if they had it, to be honest.”
On Monday in the Class 5 semifinals, Potomac Falls will play Freedom-South Riding, which handed the Panthers their lone loss Feb. 13. However, Potomac Falls did beat Freedom three times, including a 68-62 win last week in the Region C championship game.
“It will definitely be a challenge. It’s always hard to beat a team three times in a season, let alone four,” Anderson said. “We have a pretty solid game plan for them. This is going to be the fifth time we’re playing Freedom, and we’re pretty confident.”