Purcellville, Va. — We were 31 minutes and 57 seconds into the Dulles District championship game, and Loudoun Valley High School sophomore guard Abigail Hall was yet to see the floor. The Vikings had just stolen an inbound pass from the Tuscarora Huskies before Loudoun Valley junior point guard Jane Bodamer was fouled and fell to the ground with a leg cramp. With Bodamer unable to shoot her free throws, the Vikings turned to their bench and immediately summoned Hall to the scorer’s table.
With 3.2 seconds left, Hall entered the game for the first time and knocked down both free throws, helping Loudoun Valley hold off Tuscarora, 47-44, to claim the Dulles District tournament championship on February 5 in Purcellville.
“Abby’s just a phenomenal shooter, and if I had a penny for every time I told her to shoot, I’d be a rich man,” Loudoun Valley head coach Bill Reynolds said. “Once she realizes how good of a shooter she is, she’s going to be really good. We knew she had it.”
With the momentum on their side and having expanded their lead to 6 early in the fourth quarter, it looked like the No. 1 Vikings were finally settling in with an opportunity to pull away, remain undefeated, and claim the championship trophy. But the No. 2 Huskies weren’t done quite yet.
The Huskies responded to the momentum shift with a 7-0 run, eventually taking a 42-41 lead with two minutes to play. The Vikings once again had an answer, knocking down 4 of their next 6 free throw attempts to take the lead 45-42 with 30 seconds left. Then Tuscarora knocked down a pair of free throws to draw the score to 45-44.
“It’s a situation we haven’t really been in,” Reynolds said. “You can practice it a hundred times, but you don’t know what the emotion and things that go in with that. I’m proud of the way we finished.”
After a Loudoun Valley turnover, the Huskies had a shot blocked out of bounds on the baseline. With 5.7 seconds left, trailing by 1, and without a timeout, Tuscarora ran an inbound play which was intercepted by Loudoun Valley junior guard Alison Pike who quickly made a pass to Bodamer who was immediately fouled then fell to the ground with a cramp in her leg.
After getting helped to her feet, Bodamer headed for the bench as Hall entered the game for the first time with 3.2 seconds left to attempt Bodamer’s bonus free throws. Hall received the ball from the official, toed the line, dribbled twice, and buried the first attempt in the bottom of the net, giving the Vikings a 2-point lead. Then Hall once again received the ball from the official, toed the line, dribbled twice, and knocked down her second attempt to give the Vikings the 47-44 lead by which they would win.
While Hall’s free throws helped seal the victory, it was the play of Loudoun Valley sophomore forward Louis Volker that was the difference in this one. Drawing double and triple teams throughout the night, Volker still managed to put together a ridiculous line, finishing with 16 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 4 blocked shots.
“They were double teaming her and triple teaming her, and we were just standing there once she got the ball. We had to fix that,” Reynolds said. “When Louis got the ball, we needed to cut, and she would try to find the open man. And we just had to keep feeding her, because she was going to get her points.”
Tuscarora’s defensive effort was led by their bigs—including freshman forward Alysa Carrigan, junior forward Lea Lesho, and sophomore forward Lillian Scheivert—who, despite Volker scoring a double-double, did a tremendous job holding Volker at bay.
“Tuscarora played great defense, the type of defense they needed to play,” Reynolds said. “They had a great game plan tonight.”
Both teams will need to continue drawing up good game plans as they head to the VHSL Region 4C tournament where the Huskies (5-1, 12-3) will travel to Fauquier High School while the Vikings (5-0, 14-0) host Kettle Run in region semifinal matchups on February 9 which was big news for Loudoun Valley, because up until just before the game, the understanding was that because of LCPS COVID protocols neither Loudoun team would get to host a region semifinal.
“It’s great that we don’t have to travel,” Reynolds said. “You work so hard through the season so you can have that home court advantage.”
Loudoun Valley Stats