By Joe Skinner
South Riding (Dec. 20, 2014) – Rival high schools Freedom and John Champe took to the hardwood for the second time in seven days to finish up their season match ups. The Knights entered the games holding a two game advantage after sweeping the Eagles on Dec. 12 in Aldie in a pair of close games.
However in round two, the Lady Eagles were able to trump the Lady Knights, 51-46. On the boys side, the Knights completed their season sweep of the Eagles with a come from behind, 77-64, win.
Lady Eagles give Freedom their first win in the series
The Freedom Lady Eagles (3-4) started the night off taking on the John Champe Lady Knights (6-2). The Knights jumped out to the early lead through the first quarter, but the Eagles came right back by ripping off an 8-2 run going into the locker room.
“[In the second half], we needed to keep the high intensity and put more intensity out there, we have been having a problem with that lately,” Freedom sophomore guard Sydney Kim said. “All the players needed to pick it up and keep [the intensity]at that high level.”
Out of the half, the Eagles shifted their game into high gear, outscoring the Knights 17-10 in the third quarter. With an 11-point lead headed into the fourth, the Knights would not go down without a fight and cut the lead to three late in the game.
The timing was too little, too late for the Knights – who had to start fouling to stop the clock giving the Eagles the eventual 51-46 win.
“[We] had a little mental breakdown, there was a lot of pressure being a rival team, and we got over it and got the win,” Kim said.
Knights explode for 51 second half points in rout
The varsity boys games featured two teams going in relatively opposite directions, the Eagles (3-4) dropping two of their last three games and the Knights (8-1) winning their first six of the year before losing to James Monroe going into Friday night’s match up.
The Eagles jumped out in the lead quickly and held it for nearly all of the first half. The Eagles were on top 17-15 through the first quarter and 32-26 in a physical first half.
“We talked about defense and rebounding at the half, and it made all the difference,” John Champe head coach Bill Maher said.
As the old sports cliché goes, offense wins games and defense wins championships. The Knights did not need much defense in the second half as they poured in 51 second half points, propelled by 21 total points by junior forward Kuony Deng to seal a 77-64 win and a one to one split for the doubleheader.
“It’s been very exciting to see [Deng] get better and better, but he is not the only one on the team, ” Maher said. “This team has been working very hard and getting a lot better.”
Joe Skinner is a sophomore at Freedom High School in South Riding and is currently a staff member for the Freedom Flyer. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.