The beginning stretch of the season from November to winter break has been hectic, with teams beating each other in inconsistent patterns. For most teams in Loudoun it has been very up and down, leaving standings thus far useless in telling who will come out on top. These rankings will likely look different when February rolls around and district play has been played out.
Loudoun Top 5
1.) Potomac Falls (10-0, 4-0 Potomac District)
2.) Loudoun Valley (7-3, 2-0 Dulles District)
3.) Riverside (11-1, 2-0 Dulles District)
4.) Rock Ridge (7-5, 1-3 Potomac District)
5.) Loudoun County (6-5, 1-3 Dulles District)
On the Bubble: John Champe (6-5), Freedom (7-4), Tuscarora (5-6), Briar Woods (7-4), Woodgrove (5-6), Dominion (7-6)
Potomac Falls is the clear candidate for the top team in Loudoun starting with ten wins and zero losses, including a big win over Loudoun Valley. The Panthers’ success comes on the defensive side.
“We pride ourselves on defense, and our defense has been pretty good so far. I would guess we are near or at the top of our county in points allowed per game (as of now it is 52 ppg),” says coach Jeffrey Hawes.
This team was no underdog coming into the season–Potomac Falls was expected to come out on top of the Potomac district, and so far has lived up to the hype. “We have big goals for this year, but are working hard to get better daily. We feel that we aren’t close to the potential of what we can be this year,” says Coach Hawes.
The Panthers are led so far by junior Landon Hawes with 18.5 ppg, and senior Ian Anderson with 16 ppg. (Prior to Friday’s game with Stone Bridge)
Loudoun Valley has not had the start it wanted, but this is not the team you want to count out the second half of the season. The Vikings have just one senior on the roster and have battled with injuries, likely causing the up and down start. They fell short in games to Potomac Falls, Briar Woods, and West Virginia powerhouse Martinsburg. Over break Loudoun Valley went down to Greensboro NC for the Bobcat Classic where they picked up three wins and a trophy against tough competition.
Despite not being as deep a team as they have been in years past, Valley still loves to get out and run. The Vikings are lead by junior point guard Trent Dawson who makes his presence known in many ways every time he steps on the court.
I expect a more healthy Valley team to come out on top in the Dulles District, but not having many players to rotate in could be the downfall of the Vikings this year.
Riverside has emerged on the scene this year as a team that could pose a serious threat to any team they play, living up to the high expectations they had coming into the season.
“Our defense has set the tone for us and we’ve mostly taken care of the ball. We like to push the ball up the floor on offense and the team is taking ownership of that,” says head coach Mike Koscinski.
When talking about what the team needs to work on coach Koscinski says, “Working on offensive flow and trying various combinations of players on the floor. This team is versatile and we’re trying to find our stride.”
Riverside has plenty of threats, and when asking coach Koscinski who has stepped up the most he replies, “Beau Everett and Brett Asbury have provided leadership in the backcourt as well as scoring. Brian Barrett provides scoring inside and outside and the bench depth has been a big asset in helping to wear teams down. Everyone can contribute on defense.”
Riverside is 11-1, with its one loss coming to George Mason, but most recently coming off a big win over Heritage. The Rams have a lot of good matchups in the Dulles District coming up, and are definitely a team to get out and see.
Rock Ridge is among several other teams that have a serious chance to take one of the spots to regionals out of the Potomac District, but as of now I favor them over their competition to take that second spot.
Rock Ridge is a very athletic team that loves to get out and run. “Our transition action has been effective for us this year. We have been able to push the ball and get some easy baskets,” says head coach Jason Geyer.
On the defensive side coach Geyer says, “We need to get a little tougher defensively. Our execution comes and goes at times. When all five guys are playing together within our system we have been very successful.”
“I think we are not too far off where I thought we would be. We have weathered a number of injuries to this point and we are still 7-5 against tough opponents,” coach Geyer says about the mentality of his team.
Players who have played large roles are a pair of 6’4” seniors Alex Fitch and Andrew Sanderson. “Evan Fitch is a sophomore for us who has been doing all of our dirty work. He’s a tough kid who plays multiple positions. He’s going to be a weapon for us down the line and the next couple of years,” says coach Geyer.
Rock Ridge is gonna have to battle it out with their district competition if they want to come out the conference near the top, especially with teams like John Champe, Tuscarora, Briar Woods, Freedom, and Stone Bridge.
Loudoun County is yet another team that has showed great potential, but yet dropped games early.
“We have shown solid defensive effort so far this season. Giving up 51 pts a game after nine games,” says coach Mark Alexander. “Our mentality is to make a winning effort and play as a team. We
have done that for the most part, but need more consistent effort as a team if we are to reach our goal of winning a district title.”
The Raiders are lead by senior guard Joe Alexander (15 ppg), junior guard Matthew Anderson (13 ppg), and senior forward Derek McCandless (10 ppg).
Loudoun County got off to a good start, but then lost two of their opening district games to Woodgrove and Dominion. The decisive win that put County into the top five was a large 81-44 win over Tuscarora.
If Loudoun county can improve on the offensive side then this team has a great chance of competing in regionals this year.