Leesburg, Va. — In a back-and-forth battle between two of LoCo’s best teams, the Tuscarora High School girls basketball team made a big second-half adjustment on the boards to outlast an excellent defensive effort by Stone Bridge High School as the Lady Huskies earned a big Potomac District win, 60-50, over the Lady Bulldogs on January 23 in Leesburg.
“Rebounding has been our achilles heel all season long. Our rebounding wasn’t good in the first half,” Tuscarora head coach Michael Newkirk said. “But we were able to secure those physical rebounds down the stretch. They were knocking shots down. How do we offset that? We had to limit them to one chance.”
Heading into the half with a four-point lead, the Lady Huskies were getting crushed on the glass, getting outrebounded 21-10 through the first two quarters; 11 of Stone Bridge’s first-half rebounds were on the offensive end.
While the Lady Bulldogs hung around all night, Tuscarora limited Stone Bridge to just one second-half offensive rebound, limiting their second-chance opportunities.
“We weren’t boxing out; we weren’t creating space,” Tuscarora senior forward Kennedy Middleton said. “When we started to box out in the second half, we started getting the advantage on the boards.”
Middleton – who posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds – and her sister Isabellah led the Lady Huskies charge in the fourth quarter. In the final frame, Isabellah scored eight of her ten points while Kennedy helped force eight Stone Bridge turnovers.
“It starts from the defensive end. It sets our pace,” Newkirk said. “It’s great that we could force that many turnovers. It allowed us to get the ball out in transition.”
Thanks in part to a strong defensive performance – which kept the Lady Huskies scoreless for a four-minute stretch in the third quarter – the Lady Bulldogs evened out the score at 39-39 after three quarters.
“Stone Bridge was running a triangle-and-two so Bellah and I spread out in the corners,” Kennedy said. “We took care of our responsibilities, and when we take care of our individual jobs, we play stronger as a team.”
Led by senior guard Chloe Madgwick – who scored a game-high 17 points, while adding 5 assists – and sophomore guard Anna LeMaster – who posted a double-double of her own with 16 points and a game-high 16 rebounds – the Stone Bridge offense was clicking in the half court.
The Tuscarora press, however, kept the Lady Bulldogs on edge as Stone Bridge turned the ball over 20 times throughout the night.
“We need to continue to embed those championship characteristics: rebounding, mental and physical toughness, making the extra passes,” Newkirk said. “We have to make sure we continue to have that commitment to those intangibles.”
Stone Bridge Stats