Leesburg, Va. — Trailing by as many as 10, the Loudoun County High School boys basketball team never batted an eye. Just five days removed from a, 54-46, win over Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, the Raiders hosted the Vikings in a rematch of the top two teams in the Dulles District. After a slow offensive start, Loudoun County started to find its rhythm in the third quarter, going on a 23-9 run, before holding off Loudoun Valley, 54-45, on February 5 in Leesburg.
“It’s a great rivalry. The atmosphere was good both times we played them, and I think it’ll continue to be good,” Loudoun County senior guard Mark Siegel said. “I think we’ll see them again, so we’re prepared, and we’re ready to do it again.”
Coming out of the half, trailing 25-16, Siegel wanted the basketball. In the huddle before the whistle, Siegel called for a specific play which would open him up, just right of center, behind the three-point line. Everything went according to plan as Siegel drilled the three-pointer, sparking a huge 10-1 run to open the third quarter.
“I told coach to run a play for me,” Siegel said. “We ran it two times and got open, and I was able to hit it. I started to get hot there.”
After scoring just two points in the first half, Siegel went on to score 9 in the third quarter and finished with a team-high 18 points, 10 rebounds.
A lot of Siegel’s scoring opportunities in the third quarter came by way of senior point guard Matt Anderson, who added 4 of his game-high 9 assists coming out of the half.
“We spent a lot of time on defense in the first half, and when that didn’t go well, it affects our offense a little bit,” Loudoun County head coach Mark Alexander said. “So we just needed to speed up a little bit, let Matt, get going. I thought we weren’t being physical enough. I thought they were pushing us around in our own gym, so I just challenged them.”
And of all the challenges they accepted, the physicality challenge might have been the difference. Led by Siegel and senior guard Luke Brenner, the Raiders dominated the glass, outrebounding the Vikings, 36-24.
I thought we weren’t being physical enough. I thought they were pushing us around in our own gym, so I just challenged them.
—Loudoun County head coach Mark Alexander
Loudoun County also got another physical game out of junior center Nate Brown, who finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots in his first season of competitive high school basketball.
“He’s starting to learn how to move, starting to learn about being physical and pump faking and just being more creative around the basket,” Alexander said. “The thing about Nate is he’s extremely smart. Working with him has been a progression. It’s been steady. He hasn’t really had any setbacks. He has gotten better every game. He’s just a great team guy, and I’m glad he’s playing this year, because we needed some size.”
Defensively, Brenner took a bunch of the load of defending Loudoun Valley point guard Trent Dawson, however, like they did in their first matchup of the season, the Raiders threw multiple defenders at the Vikings’ playmaker. Despite another tremendous effort by the Loudoun County defense – which once again held Loudoun Valley to a season low in points – Dawson put together a 20-point, 7-steal performance.
“He’s a great player. He really knows how to score off the ball,” Anderson said. “We just sent guys at him as much as we could.”
The win marks a bounce back for the Raiders (8-0, 13-5) – who dropped a non-district game to Independence on February 3 – and puts them in complete control of their own destiny in the Dulles District. The Vikings (7-2, 15-5) will look to bounce back when they travel to Dominion on February 6.
“We just lost to Independence. We kind of flunked that game,” Anderson said. “But we’re coming out tomorrow against Park View, and we can’t have any mistakes. We just got to keep going and keep pushing to stay in the driver’s seat.”
Loudoun County Stats
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Loudoun Valley Stats
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