By Curtis Atkinson
Purcellville (February 24, 2016) — Throughout Loudoun Valley High School’s undefeated run, the Vikings have used a barrage of fast break layups and early pressure to quickly run away with leads that teams have had no chance of recovering from.
Loudoun Valley’s VHSL 4A West region quarterfinal matchup on February 23 looked like much of the same, with an initial 10-2 push. But William Fleming wouldn’t fold, and opened the second half with a run to tie the game at 29 putting unusual second half pressure on the Vikings.
The two battled tightly up until three minutes remaining, when Loudoun Valley ripped off a 13-0 run to leave victorious, 58-44. The win not only moves the Vikings to 24-0 on the season, but also into the VHSL 4A West region semifinals and secures them a place in the state tournament.
The Colonels opened the second half on a 12-3 run to tie the game and another 6-0 burst to open the fourth. But the Vikings consistently withstood every counter and kept their perfect season intact.
Loudoun Valley guard Jordan Miller led the first half surge, scoring 10 of the Vikings’ first 16 points, by filling the left lane on the break as the silky smooth sophomore has done all season. Although Valley was out to an early lead, they weren’t converting on all their opportunities, something head coach Chad Dawson attributed to facing one of the more athletic teams they’ve seen this season.
“We had trouble adjusting to their speed and quickness,” Dawson said of the visiting Colonels, who challenged shots that had gone unchallenged most of the year with length and quickness in the paint. “We had 17 turnovers, and I don’t think we’ve had a double-digit turnover game all year.”
The Vikes had opportunities to put the game away early but couldn’t convert, allowing the Colonels to hang within striking distance most of the game.
“We missed a lot of those [easy opportunities]early on,” Dawson said. “[We] let them hang around in the first half, and they hit a few big threes that cut into the lead.”
That it did, as Fleming came out of halftime on a 12-3 run in the first two minutes that was punctuated by a powerful put-back dunk from center James Hagins that tied the game at 29 and had Valley on the ropes.
Loudoun Valley junior – and Conference 21B Player of the Year – Nick Ball walked the ball down the court and sized up Fleming’s star guard Tyrell Adams on the perimeter. Dawson said they were looking to isolate Ball on the right side and after a few feints, Ball pulled up for a deep 3.
The shot splashed through, and the Vikings would never relinquish the lead.
“We were just looking for the best mismatch available,” Ball said. “My teammates put me in the right position to score.”
Adams – the Colonels’ best player coming in – would hurt his ankle contesting the shot and struggled through the rest of the game in a gritty performance.
Fleming would have one last push as they cut the lead to 1, but Loudoun Valley senior Trey McDyre and Ball would combine for 10 of the Vikes’ last 13 points as they pulled away and sealed a spot in the upcoming VHSL 4A state tournament.
The Vikings placed three players in double figures, paced by a game-high 20 points from Miller. Ball finished with 17, while McDyre, the gritty, do-everything senior, had 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Loudoun Valley Vikings Stats per Legit Sports Stats
Jordan Miller 20 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals, 1 blocked shot, 3-for-4 free throws
Nick Ball 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals, 1-for-2 free throws
Trey McDyre 11 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4-for-7 free throws
Jamir Degree 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, 0-for-2 free throws
Jason Yoxthimer 3 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 blocked shot, 1-for-2 free throws
Dominic Peterson 2 points, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2-for-2 free throws
Jalen Williams 1 point, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1-for-2 free throws
58 points, 28 rebounds, 17 turnovers, 13 assists, 20 steals, 2 blocked shots, 12-for-21 free throws
William Fleming Colonels Stats per Legit Sports Stats
Shiquay Price 17 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2-for-4 free throws
Tyrell Adams 10 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals
James Hagins 6 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 blocked shots, 2-for-2 free throws
Tarion Hairston 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Elijah Nichols 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1-for-1 free throw
Ramon Hampton 2 points, 4 rebounds
Von Saunders 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal
Christian Watson 1 rebound, 1 steal
Andre Pullen 2 assists
Devin Wilson 1 steal
44 points, 24 rebounds, 24 turnovers, 9 assists, 12 steals, 4 blocked shots, 5-for-7 free throws