Prince William News
One heartwarming story from Saturday is that the Warren County varsity girls basketball team won its first district title in 35 years. The catch for local sports fans though is that it came at the expense of the Brentsville District Tigers in the winner-take-all, regular-season finale between the top two squads in the Evergreen District.
Tiger girls take second in Evergreen hoops
© Gainesville TimesOne heartwarming story from Saturday is that the Warren County varsity girls basketball team won its first district title in 35 years.
The catch for local sports fans though is that it came at the expense of the Brentsville District Tigers in the winner-take-all, regular-season finale between the top two squads in the Evergreen District.
In Nokesville on Feb. 9, the Wildcats broke open a one-point game at half time with an 18 to 3 run spanning the entire third quarter as part of a 50 to 35 victory.
Brentsville (13-7 overall) sank only two open-court field goals the entire second half, both coming in the fourth quarter from star guard Haleigh Kilby.
The Tigers' entire offensive output during the third quarter consisted of three foul shots and 12 of the team's 17 points scored during the final eight minutes came from the free throw line too.
Almost half of Brentsville's scoring came from Kilby, who ended the day with 17 points.
The junior sank two three points, drilled another shot inside the arc, and hit nine out of 13 free throw attempts, allowing her to close out the regular season with 296 total points.
When asked about what allowed Warren County to break open the game, Kilby replied, "In the second half, we weren't slowing the game down like w were in the first half."
Becca and Ashley Winslow each hit a 3-pointer for Brentsville during the first half and Gillian Lowe contributed a two-point bucket as well.
Yet the team's long-distance shots just would not fall in the second half.
That prompted head coach Tim Brown to tell his team during a time out with 4:32 to go in the third quarter, "You've got to be more aggressive. You can't settle for threes."
What happened afterward is that Brentsville did drive to the basket more but so did Warren County.
Fouls stacked up quickly and both teams ended up in the double bonus by the fourth quarter.
Overall, Brentsville actually out-did the visiting team from the line by hitting 19 of 26 foul shots compared to Warren County's 14-for-25 performance.
Yet, while foul shooting can make up the difference in the game, what Brentsville proved Saturday is that an entire team's offense cannot be solely dependent on free throws when the other team is hitting open court shots.
Alesha Adams and Autumn Troxell led Warren County in scoring with 12 points each. Only seven of their combined 24 points came from free throws: Adams sank four open-floor shots during the second half and Troxell landed a triple with 10 seconds to go before the end of the third quarter that electrified the Wildcat fans on the far side bleachers.
"They hit shots. That's what the difference was," said Brown after the game. "It's all about the third quarter."
Warren County head coach John Kelly had every right to show off his smile Saturday as he didn't even try to contain his glee during a post-game interview.
He pointed out that he was five years old the last time Warren County won a girls basketball district championship in 1978.
Yet he still offered kudos to both his team and the Tigers as teams to watch in the future.
"The newer up-and-coming programs are Brentsville and Warren County," he said.
Ironically, Brentsville and Warren County are actually two oldest schools in the Evergreen District; both trace their roots back to well over 80 years.
Fauquier (opened in 1963), Liberty (1994) and Kettle Run (2008) are all considerably newer.
Brentsville will have a chance for redemption with the district tournament under way.
The question is whether the team that shows up will be the one that sank three 3-pointers in the first half against Warren County or the one relying almost entirely on free throws for scoring.
"Liberty's a different story," said Brown.