mclean-crowd
McLean students packed their gym to capacity in anticipation of the boys/girls doubleheader with rival Langley.

Liberty District rivalry night sees McLean, South Lakes sweep

MCLEAN GIRLS 50, LANGLEY GIRLS 45

In a rivalry game in which neither team saw a lead higher than eight points, McLean (5-2, 13-6) protected its home court and took home the Rotary Cup over Langley, 50-45. The Highlanders’ aggressive one-three-one defense forced 14 turnovers and allowed the Saxons to shoot only 34% from the field. McLean’s offense was led by senior Elizabeth Dufrane, who finished with 18 points.

Langley (3-4, 11-8) led 27-19 at halftime, but McLean made adjustments and owned the second half.

Extra defensive attention limited Elizabeth Dufrane in the first half, but she was dominant in the second half.
Extra defensive attention limited Elizabeth Dufrane in the first half, but she was dominant in the second half.
McLean sophomore Mia Fitzgerald swatted four Langley shots in the first quarter alone.
McLean sophomore Mia Fitzgerald swatted four Langley shots in the first quarter alone.

“Elizabeth said tonight that she was going to do whatever she could do to win. Throughout the game, you can just see her grow in to a great passer, getting her teammates involved, and then she can also knock down big shots when she needs to” said head coach Jen Sobota.

 

SOUTH LAKES GIRLS 60, HERNDON GIRLS 47

The Seahawks girls team hit its stride in the fourth quarter, led by clutch free-throw shooting, to win 60-47. Nina Boffman scored 17 points to pace South Lakes (7-0, 15-4).

Senior guard Leila Copeland says her team takes the court every game with plenty of confidence. “We know we are the best team in the district,” she said. “No one can beat us. [Friday] it was really a fight in the first half.” By halftime, the game had featured three ties and 12 lead changes. “But [bench players] did their jobs and kept the tempo up after we had a few players get into foul trouble.”

Copeland said Boffman “had it going tonight. When we’re playing [rival] Herndon, everyone has a reason to play better.”

Herndon’s girls (4-3, 7-8) trailed by two at intermission, and never pulled even thereafter. The Seahawks sank eight consecutive free throws over the final three minutes of the game to extinguish any rally hopes for the home team.

Laci Johnson led the Hornets with 17 points (3 three-pointers) and Mackenzie Koch added 13 points.

 

MCLEAN BOYS 42, LANGLEY BOYS 33

Despite scoring a low-scoring performance, McLean’s offensive efficiency earned them a 42-33 victory at home over cross town rival Langley (2-5, 6-13). The Highlanders (2-5, 7-12) shot 54% from the field without hitting a single three pointer and turned the ball over just four times, all in front of a sold-out home crowd. The raucous crowd got into it from the get-go.


“The atmosphere is always great. Both schools come out. It’s a big deal, it’s a big deal all week and it’s something that they’ll always remember,” said McLean head coach Mike O’Brien. Junior Nate Legg led the Highlanders with 14 points and was also a major factor on the defensive end, blocking a number of Saxon shots.

McLean senior guard Randy Shephard brings the ball up the floor.
McLean senior guard Randy Shephard brings the ball up the floor.

 

SOUTH LAKES BOYS 61, HERNDON BOYS 43

South Lakes (7-0, 16-3) used a 14-0 run to start the third quarter and bury any upset hopes of the Hornets (2-5, 8-10) and then cruised to a 61-43 win behind balanced scoring and dominant play in the paint.

The visiting fans from South Lakes had a good showing at Herndon, wearing yellow to honor Kobe.
The visiting fans from South Lakes had a good showing at Herndon, wearing yellow to honor Kobe.

Seahawks senior Hassen Kurtu continued on his personal upward performance track, halting many Herndon inside scoring threats while controlling the glass. Kurtu also contributed a team-high 10 points.

“We’re finally able to get our full, healthy team on the court,” said Kurtu, who welcomed back his frontcourt teammate Jerome Scott, who has seen very limited play since turning his ankle in a game Jan. 10 against Herndon. “We are trusting each other, we are bringing consistent energy to the games and different role players are stepping up. Everyone on this team knows their role, and that means a lot.”


Kurtu said Friday’s goal was slowing the scoring of Hornets’ seniors Lysander Rehnstrom and Quentin Hart. Hart tallied a game-high 16 points and Rehnstrom was held to four. “We know both of them can shoot, especially at home,” the 6-foot-6 Kurtu said. Herndon, inspired by a roaring home crowd, was as close as 26-22 late in the first half.

South Lakes coach Mike Desmond is pleased with how far Kantu has taken his game since his freshman season. “He’s thin, and he uses that to his advantage, because he can slide in and find space underneath,” Desmond said. “With rebounding and put-backs, it’s almost like he’s playing volleyball.”


The game marked the final battle between the bordering schools at Herndon’s historic gym, which will be fully renovated starting in March as part of an overall campus overhaul. Perhaps new environs will do Herndon well–its teams have struggled against their longstanding rivals the past few years.

–Mark LeDuc reported from McLean, while Paul Bergeron reported from Herndon

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