By Owen Gotimer
Ashburn (Dec. 31, 2014) – The Oakton High School Cougars girls varsity basketball team might just be the best shooting team in northern Virginia.
The Broad Run High School Lady Spartans knew going into the 2014 Maroon & Gold Classic Tournament championship, they would need to contain the Cougar shooters, but Oakton junior Alex Marquis and senior Lindsey Abed were lights out from downtown, lifting the Cougars to a 66-45 win over the Lady Spartans to claim the tournament title.
“Oakton’s a very good team, and they’ll be an elite team by the end of the year. With that many shooters, they’re difficult to defend,” Broad Run head coach Sean Gundry said. “I couldn’t be happier with our effort tonight. We haven’t seen a team that tough this year so we learned a lot of stuff about ourselves tonight.”
Broad Run took a lump just minutes into the game when Abed connected on back-to-back-to-back three-pointers to give her team a commanding 23-9 lead after the first quarter. Oakton continued to be relentless during the second frame as the Cougars went on a 13-5 second quarter run before heading into the locker room.
“We have a gritty team: kids who like to grind and put the work in every day,” Gundry said. “We’re not necessarily the most talented team in the books, but the harder we work and the more we work together, the better off we’ll be.”
After the half, Gundry’s team came out with a little more fire under their shoes as junior forward Mariah Leonard added to her second straight double-double performance of the tournament.
“She’s a stud. Period. She’s one of the best players in the county, one of the best players in the region. She just continues to do the good things she’s always done,” Gundry said. “Her teammates really helped her out tonight. She got in some tight spots and her teammates were able to bail her out in those situations. That’s what we preach every day. As good as Mariah is, we’re about 13 people playing together as one family.”
For the third straight night, the Lady Spartans’ bench outscored the opponents’ bench as junior forward Jasmine Braswell added 14 points off the bench for Broad Run.
“Our bench played really, really well tonight, and we’re going to lean on them big time in the second half of the season,” Gundry said.
While the final outcome did not fall in favor of the Lady Spartans, Gundry noted this tournament will serve as a key element during the back half of Broad Run’s season.
“I love tournaments, and I love three games in four day stretches because it’s great preparation for the conference and region tournaments because it gets us used to playing those kind of games back to back,” Gundry said. “We played three teams this weekend with three different styles of play, three different levels of talent. It’s the same when you get to the conference tournament.”
Gundry added over the past three weeks his team got better each and every day at practice and in games.
“Our chemistry is getting better, our skills are getting better,” Gundry said. “We continue to grow and continue to work hard because we realize we can’t take anything for granted come conference play.”
Oakton Cougars Stats
Alex Marquis 19 points, 3 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists, 2-for-2 free throws
Lindsey Abed 17 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 assists, 2-for-2 free throws
Hayley Russell 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot, 1 assist, 1-for-1 free throw
Maddie Royle 2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 blocked shots, 2 assists
Delaney Connolly 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assist, 4-for-4 free throws
Colette Holland 3 points, 1 rebound, 1-for-2 free throws
Kailyn Fee 1 rebound, 1 steal
Christin Butters 2 rebounds
Cameron Platter 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal
Mackenzie Brooks 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 3-for-4 free throws
Sami Bassett 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist
66 points, 30 rebounds, 13 turnovers, 10 steals, 4 blocked shots, 14 assists, 13-for-15 free throws
Broad Run Lady Spartans Stats
Mariah Leonard 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, 6-for-11 free throws
Jasmine Braswell 14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 3-for-6 free throws
Julia Nappier 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist
Grace Mattimore 3 points, 4 rebounds
Samantha Polk 2 points
Chyna Roberts 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 assists, 0-for-1 free throws
McKenna Gallagher 1 rebound, 1 steal, 2 assists
Sofia Ackerman 1 rebound, 1 assist
Nicole Braithwaite 1 rebound
Sabrina Montgomery 1 rebound
45 points, 27 rebounds, 19 turnovers, 7 steals, 7 assists, 9-for-18 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.