Purcellville, Va. — A chaotic start to the second half didn’t phase the Loudoun Valley High School boys basketball team, who weathered a 10-2 run to start the third before holding off Rock Ridge High School, 43-37, in a Dulles District quarterfinal on February 13 in Purcellville.
“It’s very tough playing a team three times. We just battled down the stretch,” Loudoun Valley head coach Chad Dawson said. “I’m very proud of the guys’ effort.”[adrotate banner=”53″]
After taking a 20-15 lead into the half, the No. 4 Vikings caught some bad luck coming out of the half as they discovered two players had blood on their jerseys and junior point guard Landen Conrad got nauseous just before the third quarter started.
Without Conrad and senior junior forward Nate Boner, Loudoun Valley turned to two freshmen to fill the void to start the second half.
“We were scrambling to get five on the floor,” Dawson said. “Our guys did a great job weathering the storm, because Rock Ridge went on a run there for sure.”
The stretch without Conrad included Rock Ridge going on a 10-2 run which culminated with a 3-point dagger by sophomore guard Mekhi Motilewa to give the No. 5 Phoenix their first lead of the night.
But as quickly as the Phoenix took the lead, the Vikings took it right back as freshman guard Tal Rose buried a three from the top of the arc to tie things up before fellow freshman guard Tristen Conrad finished on a tough putback to retake the lead for Loudoun Valley—a lead which they would not rescind.
“[The start of the second half] gave some other guys’ some opportunities to step up,” Dawson said. “Tal and Tristan stepped up and really helped us during that stretch.”
With a lead and the elder Conrad and Boner back in action, the Vikings continued to battle late in the third into the fourth. The Phoenix were able to pull within 1 at 35-34 midway through the fourth but junior forward Joey Danielson squashed any hope Rock Ridge had when he knocked down a triple on an assist from Boner to once again make it a two possession game.
“We have guys who can score, so I know I don’t need to score all the time,” Boner said. “I just want to do all the other things I can do to help the team win.”
Boner—who finished with just 1 point on the night—chipped in 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots, and along with junior forward Cole Kielhorn did an excellent job of doing the small things to keep the Phoenix at bay.
“Cole and Nate inside were just tough,” Dawson said. “They’re just a problem for opposing teams, because they just want to win and are willing to do whatever it takes to help us do that.”
The No. 4 Vikings (10-5, 15-8) will need all the hustle and hard work they can get when they travel to Leesburg to tango with No. 1 Tuscarora (14-1, 20-3) in a Dulles District semifinal on February 15 in Leesburg.
“We’ve played them twice, so we both know what each other has,” Boner said. “They have good players, and we have good players, so we just have to go out there and play Viking basketball.”
Loudoun Valley Stats
Rock Ridge Stats