By Rikki Pepino
Leesburg (Feb. 5, 2015) – The Tuscarora High School boys varsity basketball team (10-6, 3-5) came out on top Feb. 3, against Conference 14 foe Potomac Falls High School (11-6, 4-2), winning 88-86 and avenging their 90-79 loss in Sterling on Jan. 13.
Tuscarora juniors Kyle Copeland and Jamel Howard opened the first few minutes of the game by dropping four shots from beyond the arc, giving the Huskies the early lead. Although the Panthers seemed to be the more aggressive team during the first quarter, the Huskies stayed dominant using sound strategy and managing to execute some quick plays.
The two junior guards – Copeland and Howard – had a very successful night scoring a combined 34 points, outscoring the Panthers’ inside, power duo of Wanya Allen and Dondrea Tillman. Supporting Copeland and Howard was sophomore Bryce Sorrell who added points for the Huskies.
Tuscarora was able to maintain their lead for most of the night. Increased aggressiveness and more smart plays from the Huskies encouraged both crowds and their respective student sections – Tuscarora’s Tusky Terror and Potomac Falls’ Panther Pit – to come out and cheer for their teams.
Throughout the final half, the Huskies were able to hold onto their dominance, executing plays with ease and the Panthers’ defense failed to stop them.
Although losing, Potomac Falls had a few star players that would ultimately lead to their comeback in the fourth quarter. Potomac Falls’ all-time leading scorer Wanya Allen scored 10 points in the final minutes to give the Panthers an opportunity to take their first lead of the game at a crucial point.
“We were just trying to take care of the ball in the final seconds,” Tuscarora head coach Al Smith said. “There were too many times where each of the players tried to do too many things individually, [which gave]the other team a chance to come back during the final quarter. We wound up turning the ball over too many times, giving [the Panthers]too many opportunities, and that’s what almost cost us the game.”
Down by more than 20 points at times throughout the Conference 14 match up, the Panthers made a late push to bring the conference’s No. 2 Potomac Falls within one-point with just seconds remaining.
However, the Huskies pushed forward and took advantage of the final seconds, scoring two free throws and ending the Panthers’ late rally.
“Luckily, we were able to get a chance to take a breather with the time-outs,” Smith said. “The key was composing ourselves, trying to calm the rest of the team down and going back to doing what we were supposed to do in the final minutes. The boys did a really great job at executing.”
Huskies celebrate football star Noah Reimers at halftime
Halftime of the Conference 14 match up was spent commemorating Tuscarora’s senior running back Noah Reimers on his outstanding accomplishments throughout his high school football career. During halftime, Tuscarora held a quick ceremony honoring the Harvard-bound athlete who was named the All-LoCo Player of the Year.
“[Reimers] has been a great role model for the things that Tuscarora football has stood for, which is commitment, discipline and passion,” Tuscarora head football coach Michael Burnett said.
Rikki Pepino is a senior at Tuscarora High School in Leesburg and is currently a staff member for the Husky Headline. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.
Tuscarora Huskies Scoring
Kyle Copeland 21 points
Jamel Howard 13 points
Dalaynte Blaylock 8 points
Bryce Sorrell 8 points
Jaylin Futrell 6 points
Jonathan Roebuck 6 points
Durron Norris 5 points
Tique Yarbrough 5 points
Alex Bailey 4 points
George Cross 2 points
Potomac Falls Panthers Scoring
Wanya Allen 22 points
Brian Sweeney 10 points
David Walls 10 points
Dondrea Tillman 8 points
Carey Miller 5 points
Danny Cox 2 points
Jack Mologne 2 points
Alex Nemer 2 points