Leesburg, Va. — In a battle of the two top contenders in the Dulles District, Loudoun Valley High School junior forward Haley Pasqualone and the rest of the Lady Vikings girls basketball team used a high-pressure defense and balanced offense to fend off a late rally by Loudoun County High School in their 47-44 win over the Lady Raiders on January 3 in Leesburg.
“This win means a lot for our confidence, but it’s a long season,” Loudoun Valley head coach Kenyamo McFarlane said. “We have to continue each and every day at practice. We can’t get to high off this win.”
After a shaking first defensive possession – in which Loudoun County grabbed four offensive rebounds – the Lady Vikings settled in defensively, holding the Lady Raiders to just 17 first half points, while forcing seven first half turnovers.
“Credit to our girls because they buy into the defensive idea,” McFarlane said. “They want to play defense, they want to press, they want to get steals; sometimes they want it a little bit too much.”
That extra aggression came back to bite them a little bit to start the third quarter as Loudoun County went on an 11-2 run to pull within one point just four minutes into the second half.
“At halftime, I told the team ‘This is County. They aren’t going to back down,’” Loudoun Valley junior guard Olivia Badura said.
Loudoun County certainly turned on the jets to open the second half as senior guard Natalie Villaflor scored seven of her game-high 18 points in the first four minutes of the third quarter alone. Villaflor – along with senior guard Julia Ng and junior guard Morgann Harden combined for 36 of Loudoun County’s 44 points.
“County is a great team. They’re well coached and they have great players. We knew they were going to make a run,” McFarlane said. “In the end, we just played really great team defense. That’s what we hang our hats on.”
On the other offensive end, the Lady Vikings spread the ball around as eight girls contributed to the scoring line. Loudoun Valley freshman forward Lee Volker and Badura had four assists apiece, while Pasqualone matched Villaflor’s effort with 18 points of her own.
Pasqualone has a knack for finding openings inside ten feet and connected on jump shot after jump shot to keep her team ahead. And when she wasn’t scoring, she was rebounding, grabbing eight boards, outmatched by just Ng, who corralled 14 rebounds in the losing effort.
“Loudoun Valley played a lot better than we did tonight,” Loudoun County head coach Derek Fisher said. “We weren’t disappointed with our effort, but we didn’t have the best execution tonight. A lot of that has to do with how the other team is playing.”
Loudoun Valley (1-0, 5-1) is back in action on January 5 when they host Purcellville-rival Woodgrove High School in a Dulles District match up. Loudoun County (2-1, 10-2) hopes to get back on track when they host rival Heritage High School in Leesburg.
“We can’t get over confident,” Badura said. “We just have to keep working hard.”
Loudoun Valley Stats
Loudoun County Stats