By Curtis Atkinson
Purcellville (February 24, 2016) — For a player who battled through a torn ACL her junior year — and who has made a living from behind the 3-point line – Loudoun Valley High School senior Emily Thompson’s 1,000th career point couldn’t have been from any closer or any easier.
Midway through the second quarter of a VHSL 4A West region quarterfinal, the senior handled George Washington-Danville’s pressure and cruised in for an easy layup that put her in an exclusive club of one as the only female in Loudoun Valley history to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau.
That bucket also capped a 13 to 3 run that ballooned a 6-point lead to 16 as the Lady Vikings never looked back on their way to a, 56-40, victory that moved Loudoun Valley into the 4A West region semifinals and a guaranteed berth in the VHSL 4A state tournament.
Thompson’s drive was a common theme for the senior-led Lady Vikings, who navigated the Lady Eagles’ pressure and got into the paint time and time again finishing their forays with buckets or by drawing fouls. The Lady Vikings scored a combined 46 of their 56 points from inside the paint or at the charity stripe as they failed to hit a three-pointer, but still managed to control the game.
Before the game, Loudoun Valley head coach Kenyamo McFarlane said the keys would be defense and rebounding.
The Lady Vikings settled into a 2-3 zone to protect their own paint early and forced the Lady Eagles’ to shoot over the zone. The goal, McFarlane said, was to make GW-Danville “shoot from deeper than they wanted to with a contested shot and after the shot, to rebound.” The Vikings did just that in the first half, as they forced the Lady Eagles into a 1-11 performance from behind the arc and pulled down 23 rebounds to just 7 for GW-Danville.
Loudoun Valley was in control throughout, never trailing or even being tied with GW-Danville. The Lady Vikings saw nine players score with senior Lindsey Sweet leading three Vikings in double figures with a game-high 14, Thompson with 12 and sophomore Celine Fink adding 11 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Last year’s Lady Vikings team came up one game short of a berth into the state tournament. This year’s team has grown a little bit, and a win on February 23 assured them they’d be moving on to the state tournament.
“We’re a year older,” McFarlane said. “Last year we were down to two guards [with the injury to Thompson]and the deeper you get, it becomes a guard’s game.”
McFarlane also didn’t hold back when it came to talking about what a difference it means to have Thompson for this year’s run.
“The girls really look up to her,” McFarlane said. “ She does a great job leading them.”
On the night when Thompson became the first Lady Viking in history to break the 1,000-point milestone, McFarlane reflected back on the past year.
“I’ve said it from day one, she’s the face of the program. I told her right after her junior year was over, ‘leave a legacy,’” McFarlane said. “She’s set lofty goals ever since she was a freshman, and she’s done a great job achieving them.”
Thompson herself was able to reflect back on a difficult year and what it meant to come back from such a tough injury just last season.
“I never thought I would be able to reach it because I only played half the season,” Thompson said of the 1,000-point mark. “Over the summer I set a goal to break the points record, and it just came, and I’m lucky to have it.”
Loudoun Valley certainly isn’t done yet. The Lady Vikings are at full strength with a veteran group that’s looking to improve what’s already been a record setting season with a deep run in the state tournament.
Thompson, McFarlane and the Lady Vikings will take the next step when they host Conference 24 No. 2 William Fleming on February 25 at 6 p.m. at Loudoun Valley High School in part one of a VHSL 4A West region semifinal boys and girls doubleheader.
Loudoun Valley Lady Vikings Stats per Legit Sports Stats
Lindsey Sweet 14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals
Emily Thompson 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 6-for-6 free throws
Celine Fink 11 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 5-for-6 free throws
Alex Van Zandt 7 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot, 3-for-5 free throws
Mar Keane 5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1-for-2 free throws
Lakin Krisko 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2-for-2 free throws
Haley Pasqualone 2 points, 1 rebound
Anna Cheskiewicz 2 points, 0-for-1 free throw
Jordan Crigger 1 point, 1 steal, 1-for-2 free throws
Grace Kopf 2 rebounds, 1 steal
Riley Herr 2 rebounds
Olivia Badura 2 assists
56 points, 38 rebounds, 22 turnovers, 12 assists, 10 steals, 1 blocked shot, 18-for-24 free throws
GW-Danville Lady Eagles Stats per Legit Sports Stats
LaMya Burton 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3-for-11 free throws
Kaliya Barbour 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals, 1 blocked shot, 4-for-13 free throws
Jasmyn Warren 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2-for-4 free throws
Kiara Smith 4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2-for-3 free throws
Teavonie Walden 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
Judy McClearn 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot
Se’Maj Childress 1 point, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 0-for-4 free throws
Ariyanna Wimbush 1 point, 1-for-2 free throws
Sapphire Jones 3 rebounds, 0-for-2 free throws
Bryanna McLaughlin 2 rebounds
Myesha Pierre 1 rebound
40 points, 29 rebounds, 14 turnovers, 5 assists, 13 steals, 2 blocked shot, 10-for-26 free throws