Warhawks boys, Sax­ons girls claim re­gion cham­pi­onships

MADI­SON 62, W.T. WOOD­SON 58

The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - BY JA­COB BOGAGE ja­cob.bogage@wash­post.com

A long lo­cal sea­son ended Saturday night in Fair­fax with two teams that knew one an­other well prey­ing off weak­nesses and sur­pris­ing a full gym­na­sium at Robin­son Sec­ondary School.

W.T. Wood­son sharp­shooter Ja­son Aigner drilled a three-poin­ter from the vol­ley­ball line. Madi­son guard Sam Kidd knew he had that kind of range. So he jumped the pass from the top of the Warhawks’ zone de­fense the next time Aigner ran out there, then beat it down­court and banked in a layup that iced Madi­son’s first 6A North re­gion cham­pi­onship. The Warhawks pulled out a 62-58 vic­tory to con­tinue their spir­ited post­sea­son run.

“We knew where they were go­ing to go,” Kidd said.

The same can’t be said for the di­rec­tion of Madi­son’s sea­son at the mid­point. The Warhawks (23-6) started slowly, then ripped off 10 straight wins. They lost three of four in mid-Jan­uary and now en­ter the state tour­na­ment hav­ing won 12 of their past 13.

This was never a team strug­gling to find its iden­tity, Coach Kevin Roller said. They are not bas­ket­ball junkies. They are not su­per ath­letes.

“But the hell if we play so damn hard,” he said.

Madi­son jumped out to a seven-point lead on a layup from se­nior guard Johnny Cor­ish, the tour­na­ment’s MVP, to end the first quar­ter. He buried an­other three to end the third, then found class­mate Nick Con­forti while hang­ing in the air un­der the rim for an open layup.

The bas­ket put Madi­son up by 11, its largest lead of the game.

“I’ve been play­ing with him all year,” se­nior guard Daniel Gerke said of Cor­ish, “and I still don’t know how he does it.”

Cor­ish fin­ished with 19 points. Aigner led all scor­ers with 23 points for Wood­son (23-6).

Both teams will be back at Robin­son on Fri­day for the state quar­ter­fi­nals, along with West Po­tomac and Hern­don. The Wolver­ines topped the Hor­nets in the re­gion con­so­la­tion game, 76-53.

Lan­g­ley girls lock it down

It was a mat­ter of time, Lan­g­ley Coach Amanda Baker told her team, un­til its of­fense would kick in. Un­til then, keep play­ing de­fense, forc­ing turnovers and re­bound­ing.

Re­peat the mantra, se­nior for­ward El­iz­a­beth Bucy said — “Stop, score,” the Sax­ons say out loud at ev­ery change of pos­ses­sion — even as Bat­tle­field turned a two­point game into four, then seven, then nine in the sec­ond half.

And then ju­nior guard Jordyn Cal­laghan drained a three-poin­ter to start the fourth quar­ter to tie it up. Lan­g­ley’s of­fense came all at once after­ward in a 45-41 vic­tory in the Vir­ginia 6A North re­gion ti­tle game.

“That was the mo­ment we had to strike,” said Cal­laghan, who fin­ished with a game-high 21 points. “We knew we could win it.”

Bucy fed her the ball on a drive to the bas­ket and kick-out, a rar­ity against the Bob­cats (19-7), whose pack-line de­fense mir­rors the Sax­ons’. It was the kind of front Lan­g­ley (24-4) strug­gled against early on. It drains the life out of op­pos­ing of­fenses and slows the game’s tempo down to a me­thod­i­cal stomp.

“They gave us a taste of our own medicine,” Baker said.

But a drive to the hoop — an ounce of day­light — opens things up.

“She was in the clear, wide open,” Bucy said of Cal­laghan. “She hit it, and that’s ex­actly what we needed.”

The Sax­ons started an 11-0 run that opened up an eight-point lead, off a Bucy put­back and foul shot and an­other free throw from se­nior point guard Rachel Du­nie. Bat­tle­field clawed back within a point with 30 sec­onds to play on Mar­ley McLaughlin’s layup while be­ing fouled, but Bucy (eight points, 10 re­bounds) grabbed the en­su­ing re­bound.

DOUG KA­PUSTIN FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Above left, Madi­son de­feated W.T. Wood­son for the school’s first 6A North boys’ re­gion cham­pi­onship Saturday night. Above right, Jordyn Cal­laghan (21 points) of Lan­g­ley cuts down the net.

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