Final 2021-2022 Nova Nineteen
1. Paul VI (29-5)–WCAC Champions, VISAA Champions, defeated Sierra Canyon (CA), finished top 20-25 in most national rankings, and so on and so on. We’ve seen good PVI teams many times before, this team may have been the most fun in a while to watch–the Panthers seemed to thrive in clutch and late-game situations. Dug McDaniel heads now to the University of Michigan.
2. Hayfield (32-0)–Even with powerful PVI on the list, we think you could make a legitimate case for Hayfield to be #1. Despite all their talent, what the Hawks did was anything but easy, going undefeated over a grueling, long 32-game season. Even without Wheeler, Pratt, Rouse, etc. next year, the Hawks return the talent to make a run at repeating as Class 6 state champs.
3. St. Stephen’s St. Agnes (20-4)–Gave PVI all it could handle in the VISAA DI state title game, ultimately falling to the Panthers, 56-52. When Devin Ceaser was rolling, there was very little opponents could do to stop him or the Saints.
4. O’Connell (17-13)–Honestly, the Knights could have just won the two games they played against Paul VI this year (they did) and a lot of O’Connell students would have been pretty happy with the season. A very notable senior class goes after a very memorable season in which O’Connell once again made noise in the WCAC.
5. Patriot (26-1)–Won’t dwell on Patriot falling (finally) to Battlefield in the state tournament and landing short of the state title game. Another good senior class goes (Marrero, Davis, Ackerman, Bates), but next year’s returning talent notably improved throughout the season and the Pioneers will be a state contender again next year.
6. Episcopal (17-8)–Fell to Paul VI in the VISAA semis. Perhaps no school will feel the loss/graduation of a duo like Charlie Jackson and John Loughlin, good friends that combined for some absurd games this year. The Maroon had a very good year in which they claimed the ISL regular season title.
7. South Lakes (24-3)–Veteran starting lineup did anything but disappoint in its senior year. 6D Regional Champions, the Seahawks displayed some of the best lineup balance and team chemistry we’ve seen in a while. In a regular, non-magical Hayfield year, this team was state champion-worthy. Certainly had the heart of a champion.
8. Fairfax Christian (26-9)–Tough upset loss at the hands of Eastern Mennonite in the VISAA DIII title game. Still, a good season for the Cardinals and a lot of underrated talent coming back next year. They’ll be very good, but it just won’t be as fun without Ryan Blakey running the point. That guy is unbelievable.
9. South County (20-6)–Season concluded with the loss to Hayfield in the Occoquan semis. That game wasn’t close, but the Stallions should be a contender next year with most of their team returning.
10. Fairfax (20-7)–Lost to South Lakes in the state quarterfinals. What a year for the Lions–any team surviving the Patriot District and Occoquan Tournament to make states is worthy indeed. Good senior class goes we’ll miss, but Margad Choijilsuren returns, easily one of the best players in Northern Virginia.
11. Potomac Falls (20-6)–Season ended after a loss to Albemarle in the regional semis. Disappointing, but doesn’t hardly diminish a fantastic season. Plus, the Panthers essentially arrived early and have a lot coming back next year. A lot.
12. Stone Bridge (16-7)–Disappointing loss to Massaponax in the state quarters. I mean, guess this Bulldogs senior athletic class will just have to make do with two state titles in football and one in basketball. Still legendary.
13. Potomac (14-7)–An uneven regular season morphed into a postseason that very well could have a been a deep run into the state tournament. Patriot stopped the Panthers, but the future is always bright down I-95 at Potomac. Tough to think of a better returning public school guard-forward duo than TJ Bethea and Jayden Harris.
14. Washington-Liberty (18-7)–This is another team that arrived somewhat early this season. Powered in large part by a great junior class, the Generals were Liberty champions this year and regional runner-ups.
15. Madison (19-6)–Lost a tough one against Washington-Liberty in the regional semis but an absolutely great year for the Warhawks. A memorable senior class goes, so it will be interesting to see how Kevin Roller’s younger players develop this summer.
16. W.T. Woodson (17-7)–Had the misfortune of drawing Hayfield in the Occoquan round of eight, but gave the Hawks one of the biggest challenges they’ve had all season. Could make a case this team should be ranked higher.
17. Riverside (18-12)–Fell to Highland Springs in the Class 5 semis, but what a run for the Rams. Memorable class led by Jamie Ntiamoah and Cam Koscinski graduates, but some nice talent returning, like wing Jaden Frazier.
18. Battlefield (20-7)–On the fringe of these rankings all year, the Bobcats finally got a signature win with an unbelievable upset of rival Patriot in the state semis. Even if they hadn’t, this was a good team all year. Some big losses, but eight talented juniors were on the roster that only trailed Hayfield by two possessions at half of the state final.
19. (tie) West Potomac (15-9)–Beat Fairfax for the district championship but lost to the Lions in the region semis. Some notable seniors graduate, but a lot of solid talent back for the Wolverines next year.
19. (tie) Loudoun County (23-7)–It wasn’t an easy season for the Captains. There was some unexpected roster turnover, but Loudoun County still defeated talented Loudoun Valley (three-of-five overall) in the state semis to advance to the school’s first-ever boys basketball state final. Well-coached and fundamentally sound, this was a true team with great chemistry.
Others Receiving Votes–Flint Hill (15-9), Loudoun Valley (23-6), Seton (18-6), Marshall (18-6), Independence (16-6), Lake Braddock (16-8), John Champe (16-7), Woodbridge (15-8), Edison (16-9)