By Owen Gotimer
Leesburg (December 21, 2016) — For the second night in a row, the Loudoun County High School boys basketball team took care of business on their home court as they dispatched Conference 21B foe Park View High School, 87-46, on December 20 in Leesburg.
Led offensively by senior guards Tyler Karol and Charlie Turnage and sophomore guard Joe Alexander, the Raiders jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
“My guys needed some confidence. They needed to know how to hold leads and how to win,” Loudoun County head coach Mark Alexander said. “I needed to find out which combination of guys I could have out there.”
“Tyler opens it up. He is so explosive and just gets to the rim. He creates openings for other guys,” Alexander said. “Joe is coming along. He needs to take care of the ball, but he can put up some big numbers when he’s on. Charlie is the same way.”
Karol – who sat for most of the second and fourth quarters – led all scorers with 30 points, adding 7 rebounds, 9 steals and 5 assists.
“I turned my defense into offense,” Karol said. “I had nine steals and just tried to convert points on each of those steals.”
But even when Karol and the Raiders (2-1, 4-4) expanded their lead to 20-plus, the Patriots (0-3, 0-6) didn’t back down as junior guard Dionisio Aviles connected on the backend of back-to-back and-one opportunities before draining a three-pointer late in the first half.
Senior forward Ken Coopwood aided Aviles with 9 points and 5 rebounds for Park View while senior guard Gabe Calalang found his stroke in the second half to add 8 points.
However, the Raiders’ defense was persistent causing turnover after turnover. And when they didn’t cause turnovers they controlled the glass, outrebounding the Patriots 32-15.
“We’ve come a long way. We lost two starters to injury early in the season,” Karol said. “We had to switch some things around. But people have taken ownership and stepped up. We’ve done what we’ve needed to do.”
Loudoun County starting freshmen guards Matt Anderson and Mark Siegel both went down with early-season injuries, so Alexander has had to juggle his line up around to re-find the right combinations.
“We were 0-3, but we played some solid teams. Our younger guys just needed to figure out how to win some games,” Alexander said. “We’re still raw in some positions. And we’re missing our freshmen, which is odd to say, but they’re players that are going to have good careers here.”
Evening out their record at 4-4 heading into their holiday tournament, the Raiders are working on putting together a full season, realizing development is key early on.
“It’s a marathon. We have to get better every day. We hope we can compete against the good teams,” Alexander said. “Loudoun Valley and Heritage are two teams that we’re afraid of. Loudoun Valley is good. They’re really good. Heritage is long; they’re athletic. They play that funky 1-3-1. If we shoot well, we can give them a game.”
While Loudoun County works on melding and developing physically, the team chemistry is already clicking.
“The good thing about these kids is there are no egos,” Alexander said. “They love each other, and they player for each other, and that’s rewarding.”
Tyler Karol 30 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 9 steals, 8-for-10 free throws
Charlie Turnage 17 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 5-for-7 free throws
Joe Alexander 15 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 0-for-4 free throws
Pierce Brenner 10 points, 4 rebounds
Cam Corbett 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3-for-4 free throws
Steven Bowers 7 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Derek McCandless 4 rebounds
Mike Mozeyko 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Justin Lohneis 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3 steals
Rithwik Patel 1 rebound
Totals 87 points, 32 rebounds, 13 assists, 17 steals, 0 blocked shots, 16-for-25 free throws
Dionisio Aviles 11 points, 1 steal, 3-for-4 free throws
Ken Coopwood 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1-for-2 free throws
Gabe Calalang 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2-for-2 free throws
Christian Adlam 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 blocked shot, 0-for-2 free throws
Mohanned Yasin 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal
Adam Thorne 4 points, 4 steals
Josh Dinoso 3 points, 0-for-2 free throws
Jacob Smith 2 points, 2 rebounds
Chance Turner 1 rebound
Brandon Carroll 1 rebound
Noah Helmick 0-for-2 free throws
Will Nataren 0-for-2 free throws
Totals 46 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 9 steals, 1 blocked shots, 6-for-16 free throws