Senior Ryan Karlan, who also had 11 rebounds on the night, helped Dominion hold Loudoun Valley to two first quarter points.

Dominion defense gets Titans by Loudoun Valley, 46-41

Dominion’s senior-laden lineup wasn’t particularly efficient on offense against Loudoun Valley. Good thing that’s only half the battle.

On Monday night, the host #17 Titans limited Loudoun Valley to only two first quarter points and then had a key stop late after a furious Vikings comeback, en route to a 46-41 victory.

It wasn’t a pretty game, but that was just fine with Dominion coach Anthony Eifler.

“We pride ourselves on our defense,” said Eifler, whose team has held opponents to an average of around 45 points per game. “We walk into every game telling ourselves we’re going to hold teams under 50–that’s the goal, and except for one game this year we’ve done it.”

For a while it looked like they might shut out Valley completely until the Vikings got a bucket with around 30 seconds left in the first quarter. The Titans’ perimeter defense was excellent, and when it wasn’t, the tall Dominion frontcourt was there to reject shots behind it. The young Vikings eventually settled down and got better looks at the basket, but still trailed by 10 at the end of the first half.

Dominion's Chase Matheny receives a post pass. Matheny and the other Titans blocked shots and won the rebounding battle.
Dominion’s Colby Matheny receives a post pass. Matheny and the other Titans blocked shots and won the rebounding battle.

Still, while Dominion led throughout, its offense remained spotty and in fact hit a dry patch in the fourth quarter. That enabled the Vikings (4-4) to claw back and make it a game. Valley standout freshman point guard Jayden Johnson scored to get his team to within a point late, at 42-41. The Vikings then fouled Dominion senior guard Jonathan McElroy. McElroy, only one-of-four from the line prior, calmly drilled two free throws to make it 44-41. Then, Dominion needed one last defensive stop–two, actually after a Valley offensive rebound.

Two more free throws sealed the deal for Dominion. The Titans (5-2) were led by Justin Mann’s all-around game of 11 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. All seven seniors who played scored. That’s also nothing new for Dominion, which seems to have a different leading scorer every night.

Dominion's Justin Mann finishes at the rim. Mann led the Titans' typically balanced scoring with 11 points.
Dominion’s Justin Mann finishes at the rim. Mann led the Titans’ typically balanced scoring with 11 points.

“That’s another thing I love about this team,” Eifler said. “Our top seven guys, you really have to guard them all, and they all have a different skillset. You can’t focus on one of our guys and they share the ball so well. Tonight we got a little stagnant against their zone, but…on a night like tonight when we’re not executing well–defense can win us the game.”

–Chris Jollay

all stats are unofficial

 EDWARDS  0-6  4-5  4  4  1
 SIBLEY  4-7  0-0  9  3  3
 KARLAN  1-4  2-2  5  11  2
 MANN  5-16  0-0  11  8  4
 C.MATHENY  3-5  0-0  6  5  0
 McElroy  1-2  3-6  6  0  2
 W.Matheny  2-2  0-0  5  1  0
 Barenz  0-1  0-0  0  0  1
TOTALS 16-43  9-13  46  32  13
Threes: McElroy 1-1, W.Matheny 1-1, Karlan 1-2, Sibley 1-4, Mann 1-6, Edwards 0-2
 JOHNSON  3-11  0-0  7  2  4
 SANTMEYER  2-6  0-0  6  1  2
 ZIMMET  2-6  0-0  6  2  0
 RANDOLPH  2-5  1-3  5  5  1
 HALL  3-5  0-1  7  5  0
 Roberts  0-0  1-2  1  0  1
 Ayouch  0-1  0-0  0  1  0
 Kilmore  2-4  0-0  5  0  1
 #0  1-4  0-0  2  4  0
 Thunell  0-0  2-2  2  2  0
 Conrad  0-2  0-0  0  0  1
TOTALS 15-44  4-8  41  22  10
Threes: Zimmet 2-4, Santmeyer 2-5, Kilmore 1-1, Hall 1-2, Johnson 1-3, Conard 0-1, Ayouch 0-1, #0 0-2

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