Loudoun County, Va. — As high school boys basketball heats up in Loudoun County, one local team stands out among the crowd, while several others have proved to be potential contenders. 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, check out the full Potomac District and Dulles District standings.
1. Potomac Falls (8-0, 14-0) —
The latest iteration of head coach Jeff Hawes’ Panthers may be one of his best. That’s no small feat, as his past teams boast two state championships. Whether this team can rise to those levels or not has yet to be determined, but there’s no denying their talent and overall dominance. Senior forward Ian Anderson gives them a presence inside that almost nobody in Loudoun County can defend or attack. On the perimeter, junior Landon Hawes is a skilled forward with a silky smooth game. Those two – and other supporting cast members – have led the Panthers to an undefeated record so far this year, including wins over Freedom and Loudoun Valley. Don’t expect them to fall off anytime soon.
2. Briar Woods (5-2, 9-5) —
After a big loss to Loudoun Valley early in the season, Briar Woods has really settled in and remained competitive in all but one game since the beginning of December. Senior guard Hunter Auch, junior guards Aidan Clark and Will Shin, and senior forward Nicholas Conway lead a long and athletic defense that is allowing opponents less than 60 points per game this season, the fifth best mark in Loudoun County and the second best in the Potomac District. Briar Woods has a big test against Freedom on January 22. At stake: sole possession of second place.
3. Freedom (5-3, 10-5) —
This is the definition of an underrated team. Freedom has won four of its last five, led by strong contributions from junior forward Lance Johnson and junior point guard Robbie Kemmerer. Kemmerer specifically is the focal point, running the offense and dishing out many assists – including seven in a win over Tuscarora on January 18. He does a great job spreading the ball around which allows the team to have a balanced scoring attack. They’ve done a great job of late, as head coach Justin Powers has once again prepared his team to be equipped for a good tournament run. The Eagles have two big tests coming up against No. 2 Briar Woods on January 22 and No. 1 Potomac Falls on January 25.
4. Loudoun Valley (5-0, 10-3) —
Trent Dawson. That’s the biggest reason why the Vikings have been able to withstand the loss of their seniors. He’s the conductor for their offense, doing just about everything for them. He scores and sets up his teammates. On defense, junior guard Avery Nance is a bulldog who’s going to track you all across the court. They’ve had impressive wins against Dominion and Riverside with a margin of victory in double digits in both games. Now they’re at the top of the Dulles District, with everyone looking up at them.
5. Dominion (4-1, 7-7) —
I struggled to pick between Riverside and Dominion here, but the recent returns give me more confidence in the Titans than the Rams. Both teams lost to Valley, but while the Rams lost to Woodgrove, Dominion trounced the Wolverines in a game earlier this year. The two were scheduled to play on January 14 but the game was postponed due to snow. After losing to the Vikings, they have to ensure they get back to their winning ways as the season winds down.