Ea­gles ex­tend cham­pi­onship run to five sea­sons


The Washington Post Sunday - - ALLMETSPORTS.COM - VIR­GINIA 5A NORTH RE­GION BAS­KET­BALL FI­NALS BY DIL­LON MUL­LAN dil­lon.mul­lan@wash­post.com

Fre­quent fouls and care­less turnovers forced frus­tra­tion out of Wake­field’s play­ers, coaches and fans in the open­ing min­utes of Saturday’s 5A North re­gion fi­nal at Edi­son. Af­ter dig­ging a quick hole, the War­riors climbed out to tie the game two min­utes be­fore the break.

But when the visit­ing fans stood up to let loose and ap­plaud the War­riors’ re­siliency, they woke up their host. Edi­son ripped off an 11-0 run to close the first half and kept hum­ming through the sec­ond on its way to a 64-47 win.

For the fifth con­sec­u­tive year, the Ea­gles cut down the nets as re­gion cham­pi­ons.

“We’ve been hav­ing rough third quar­ters lately, but we did a good job tonight of keep­ing the run go­ing,” fresh­man guard Char­lotte Jewell said. “We have a bunch of girls who can score, and once we get go­ing, teams can’t guard all of us.”

Sopho­more Ca­role Miller led all play­ers with 18 points and 12 re­bounds, while Jewell and fel­low fresh­man Cici Har­ris each pitched in 16 points. Af­ter the grad­u­a­tion of All-Met Jada Graves (Elon) and Me­gan Hen­drick (Mas­sachusetts-Low­ell), Edi­son (19-7) started the sea­son with no se­niors, five fresh­men and five straight losses.

Now as the cal­en­dar flips to March, the Ea­gles have once again rounded into form as the re­gion’s top state ti­tle con­tender.

“There was a sense of ev­ery­one doubt­ing us. They were like ‘You lost Jada, you lost Me­gan, you lost your team,’ ” said Miller, Edi­son’s only re­turn­ing starter. “Af­ter we started los­ing, ev­ery­body started go­ing 100 per­cent in prac­tice. That turned into our first win, and we’ve just built it up from there.”

Wake­field (25-5) heads into its first state tour­na­ment com­forted by the fact that it will not face Edi­son in the first round. The loss marked the fourth time this sea­son the War­riors lost to their Con­fer­ence 13 ri­val.

“It’s not a les­son learned. We’ve played them four times, and it’s not a les­son learned,” Wake­field Coach Mar­cia Richard­son said. “It’s a tough matchup for us be­cause they are fast and quick at ev­ery po­si­tion.”

Fri­day night in Hamp­ton, Wake­field will face Princess Anne be­fore Edi­son takes on L.C. Bird in the state quar­ter­fi­nals. A win would put the young Ea­gles back in the state semi­fi­nals, where they fell to Highland Springs in over­time last March.

Po­tomac boys pull away

For the sec­ond time in as many games in the 5A North re­gion boys’ tour­na­ment, Po­tomac started slowly and carved a dou­ble-digit deficit. At home against Albe­marle, the Pan­thers missed ev­ery­thing early to trail by as many as 12.

While rough starts have be­come a habit, so has pulling away late. Po­tomac took its first lead with less than six min­utes re­main­ing and kept charg­ing to close out a 71-60 home win in Dum­fries to re­peat as re­gion cham­pion.

Se­nior cen­ter Nana Opoku led the Pan­thers with 23 points. Se­nior Ja­mal Wash­ing­ton pitched in 18, and point guard Eljy­jah Camp added 16.

The defending state cham­pi­ons will start their ti­tle de­fense Fri­day night against Hamp­ton. Po­tomac (23-2) will drive more than two hours to the Tide­wa­ter re­gion, while the Crab­bers’ cam­pus is just three miles away from state quar­ter­fi­nal host Hamp­ton Uni­ver­sity.

In the boys’ bracket, Wake­field won at Po­tomac Falls, 71-55, to take third place in the re­gion. In the girls’ con­so­la­tion game, Tus­carora fell to Atlee, 57-52.

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