Falls Church Pendleton (4)
Falls Church's Simone Pendleton was a strong force on both offense and defense in her final year for the Jaguars.

Girls National District Recap and All-District Team

The National District hasn’t had a ton of postseason success in recent years outside of Edison, but it continues to be a fun district to take in games, especially on the girls side. There’s also a ton of talent here, with the majority of it slated to return next year. Notably, Edison and Hayfield both should have a lot of firepower returning next season, and both finished ranked in our final NOVA Nineteens.

While a lot of squads around the district relied on freshmen and sophomores in key roles, the Falls Church Jaguars did not. The Jags, who had a good season finishing tied for third in the district, had a senior-laden squad that was once again led by the supremely talented Simone Pendleton. Pendleton, a small forward who is particularly adept at attacking the rim, finished her career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with over 1,300 career points. She was named National District Player of the Year. She was also named Defensive Player of the Year, racking up steals and blocks by the bushel this season.

Edison sophomore Kennedy Marshall became more and more of an impact player as the season progressed.

While the National is getting deeper, it’s really still Edison’s playground. The Eagles went undefeated in the district and placed three players on the district first team. Sarah Chawki has been a volume scorer known for her hustle since she was a freshman. Shannon Heiner took her game to another level this season, providing a cerebral presence for Dianne Lewis’ squad. Kennedy Marshall also kicked up her game to another level. She showed flashes of becoming one of the area’s best offensive weapons, and showed no fear in big games.

Seniors Halimah Hajhassan of Justice, junior Natalie Turner of Mount Vernon, and sophomores Ava Sewall of Annandale and Alexis Cox of Hayfield rounded out the first team. Hajhassan’s steady production both inside and out will be terribly missed next season at the Lake Barcroft school, while Turner is one of the better players in the area not many people have heard about. Cox plays beyond her years helping to run the Hawks’ show, and if you’ve never seen Sewall play you’re missing a treat. The Annandale guard is a wizard with the ball and has unlimited shooting range.

Annandale’s Ava Sewall was a walking highlight reel for the Atoms this season.

The future is bright in the district. Hayfield loses a talented senior in Adriana Albritton, but should return Cox plus Christina Carter, Madison Davis, and Eva Philips–all second team or Honorable Mention selections. Plus, the Hawks have a talented freshman class led by Courtney Breland and Nancy Ngalieu. There’s a ton of depth on Telegraph Road with more talent possibly on the way. TJ returns a very good junior class led by the talented Kaiden Kerkulah while Mount Vernon returns Turner plus junior Rachael Sykes and high-impact freshman Ziyana Williams.

With 11 of 16 first and second team all-district performers returning, plus young talent like Taylor Rivers at Justice and Donnie Goodwin at Lewis coming back, expect the National to be far improved next season.

–Chris Jollay

National Girls