By Owen Gotimer
Purcellville (Dec. 23, 2014) – The second half of the boys varsity basketball game between Loudoun County High School (3-4) and Loudoun Valley High School (3-6) on Dec. 22 in Purcellville started much like the first half as the score was tied, the Raiders had possession and emotions were flying high. One evident difference permeated the second half though: the boys in blue and gold wanted their third win in a row.
The Raiders got just that as they defeated their longtime rival-Vikings, 57-47, with a terrific second half effort.
“It seemed to be two teams who didn’t want to win the game early on,” Loudoun County head coach Mark Alexander said. “We started to shoot the ball better in the second half. We’re a good shooting team, we just get in these lapses sometimes.”
Alexander’s Raiders were in a major lapse in the first half shooting 0-for-8 from behind the arc, but senior guard Ethan Walker came out hot in the second half connecting on three 3-pointers as the Raiders shot a much improved 5-for-7 from deep in the final 16 minutes.
Through the first 16 minutes, the score seesawed back and forth before Loudoun County and Loudoun Valley headed into the locker room tied 19-19.
“It was a low scoring game so every free throw counts. I thought Joe Mozeyko and Darius Taylor were our energy guys in the first half,” Alexander said. “Valley could have blown us out in the first half. But Joe and Darius really battled and kept us in there.”
Junior guard Darius Taylor knocked down 5-of-6 free throws in the first half making sure the momentum never swung entirely in the Vikings’ direction.
“I just tried to focus on the line and knock down the free points,” Taylor said. “I knew if I made them, I would give my team the spark we needed.”
The spark came after halftime, when Alexander’s message to his team was simple: get back to fundamental Raiders basketball.
“We weren’t running our offense, we weren’t playing good defense, we weren’t getting in help side,” Alexander said. “There were so many things we weren’t doing that I just wanted us to get back to the fundamentals. I told them shots were going to start falling.”
And when the shots did start falling, they would not stop.
In the third quarter alone, the Raiders outscored the Vikings 25-10 to open up their biggest lead of the game from which Loudoun County would never look back.
Senior forwards Quad Borup and Mozeyko scored 13 points each while collecting 6 rebounds apiece in the Raiders rivalry-game win.
“I just tried to be active on the glass, get some rebounds and get some guys some open shots. I think we did a good job doing that,” Borup said.
While Loudoun Valley struggled statistically throughout the game, the Vikings did dominate in turnovers forcing the Raiders to cough up the ball 19 times.
“We’re still coming together. We’re still trying to find ourselves and who we are, but we’ll be alright,” Loudoun Valley junior guard Trey McDyre said.
With the win, Loudoun County improved to 3-4 on the season as they ride a three game win streak into their winter break tournament.
“We started off rough, but we’re doing good things and getting better every day,” Borup said. “We’re on a three game win streak going into the break, and we’re excited about it.”
Loudoun County Raiders Stats
Quad Borup 13 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 6-for-6 free throws
Joe Mozeyko 13 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1-for-2 free throws
Ethan Walker 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 blocked shot, 4 assists, 1-for-2 free throws
Kyle Stock 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3-for-4 free throws
Darius Taylor 7 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 5-for-8 free throws
Takwan Crews-Naylor 4 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 assists, 2-for-3 free throws
Jordan Harris 2 points, 2 rebounds
57 points, 36 rebounds, 19 turnovers, 3 steals, 1 blocked shots, 12 assists, 18-for-25 free throws
Loudoun Valley Vikings Stats
Trey McDyre 9 points, 4 rebounds, 3-for-5 free throws
Nick Ball 8 points, 1 rebound, 2 steals, 2 assists, 1-for-2 free throws
Jason Yoxthimer 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1-for-3 free throws
Jamir Degree 6 points, 2 steals, 2 assists
Jalen Williams 5 points, 3 rebounds, 5 steals, 1 assist
Nathaniel Thompson 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 0-for-1 free throw
Matt Eberhart 2 points, 1 rebound
Josh Auten 2 points
Robert Fox 2 points
Grant Frazier 2 points
Malcolm Miller 1 rebound, 2 blocked shots
Michael Irving 1 rebound
47 points, 14 rebounds, 10 turnovers, 10 steals, 6 assists, 5-for-11 free throws
Owen Gotimer is a graduate of Heritage High School in Leesburg and is currently in his senior year at Syracuse University. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.