Loudoun County, Va. — As high school basketball wraps up in Loudoun County, a few local teams stood out among the crowd this winter. In a two-district county, we wanted a way to put things into perspective. Enter: the LoCo Top 5.
Of course, if you’re into hard numbers the full Potomac District and Dulles District standings are available here.
1. Loudoun Valley (12-0, 25-3)
After cruising through the Dulles District playoffs, the Vikings suffered just their second loss of the season to Handley in the VHSL Region 4C championship game. Loudoun Valley bounced back with a strong 69-47 win against E.C. Glass, setting the team up for a potential second straight trip to the VHSL 4A State championship game. Unfortunately, the Vikings suffered a heartbreaking loss on a game winning shot by Handley in a VHSL 4A State semifinal, eliminating Valley from contention. Despite the loss, the Vikings showed us that they are still indisputably the top team in Loudoun County. No other team in the county was as consistent as Loudoun Valley every night out. It will be interesting to see if Loudoun Valley can maintain its top spot without graduating seniors Jalen Williams, Jordan Miller and Dominic Peterson.
2. Stone Bridge (11-3, 16-9)
In December, we were not even sure if Stone Bridge would crack the LoCo Top 5 at the end of the season, as the Bulldogs were 4-6 and held the No. 4 spot in our second edition of the LoCo Top 5. However, once January play came around, the Bulldogs showed their fortitude by picking up solid wins against several Potomac District opponents. Stone Bridge – led by junior guard Evan Buckley and senior guard Ben Kling – were able to give Freedom its only district loss of the year. After suffering a setback in their loss to John Champe in the Potomac District playoffs, the Bulldogs were able to defeat Freedom again in a VHSL Region 5C quarterfinal before losing to Edison. Stone Bridge should be dangerous once again next year with Buckley running the show in his senior campaign.
3. Freedom (13-1, 22-4)
At one point, it looked like Freedom might challenge Loudoun Valley for the top spot in the county; however, Freedom’s losses to Stone Bridge kept Loudoun Valley comfortably in the top spot. Freedom indubitably had one of their best seasons in school history, posting a record 22 wins and claiming the Potomac District title. The Eagles may have fallen short of their goal to advance to the state tournament, but they successfully established Freedom as a school to be reckoned with in the future. With four starters graduating from this year’s team, Freedom will rely heavily on rising junior big man Lance Johnson to carry the load in the 2018-2019 season.
4. Potomac Falls (10-4, 19-7)
Potomac Falls ended their season with a heartbreaking triple overtime loss to Wakefield in the VHSL Region 5C playoffs after a gutsy win against a tough Thomas Jefferson team. Wakefield ended up making a run to the VHSL 5A State championship game, showing that the Panthers were able to hang with one of the best teams in the state. The Panthers finished third in the Potomac District standings and finished runner up to Freedom in the district championship game, and we expect them to major contenders again next year. Potomac Falls competed with a young core this year, meaning that they have only begun to scratch the surface of their potential. Look for rising senior big man Ian Anderson to lead the campaign for a Potomac District title next year.
5. Tuscarora (7-7, 13-12)
Tuscarora managed to make it to the VHSL Region 5C playoffs, but fell to Edison in a region quarterfinal. Finishing fourth in the Potomac District standings, the Huskies were a solid team throughout the season, but were not consistent enough to be a top three team in the county. The Huskies competed with the top teams in the county – even knocking off Potomac Falls at one point – but also fell to teams at the bottom of the district standings. If the Huskies can improve their consistency next season, they will maintain a spot in the LoCo Top 5 and will compete against Stone Bridge, Potomac Falls and Freedom for a Potomac District championship. Look for rising seniors Jared Cross and Chandler Tuten to step up after the departure of senior guard Alex Bailey.