Ashburn, Va. — For the Briar Woods High School girls basketball team, January 25 was a special night, celebrating their seniors in front of a home crowd in Ashburn. And for senior Sara Duffie, everything clicked.
“It’s a night I will always remember,” Duffie said. “It was really cool having everyone cheering for us and our teammates having our backs the whole night.”
In the senior night victory, Duffie scored 10 points, collected 4 rebounds and picked up 4 steals as the starting point guard led the Falcons to a 49-31 win over rival Stone Bridge High School.
“When I took over two years ago, the juniors who are now seniors, did a lot for me to help build the culture. I’ll always remember them and give them all the credit,” Briar Woods head coach Raven Short said. “Tonight was a very emotional night for me, because I owe them a lot. I’m so happy they were able to go out in a fashion that they wanted to.”
The Falcons senior – including Duffie; guards Alayna Hitteman, Ashton Keilholtz and Abigayle Larson; and forwards Emma Nathan and Camille Ocasio – combined for 18 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals and 1 block in the win.
But for Duffie, the game was less about the numbers and more about the emotion she experienced playing in one of her final home games at Briar Woods.
“I’ve played with four of the seniors since I was in eighth grade, so we know each other really well,” Duffie said. “The coaching staff has been amazing. They’ve been here for us through everything. It’s been a really awesome year.”
The Falcons gave a tremendous defensive effort, holding the Bulldogs to just 31 points – Briar Woods’ third lowest points against this winter – and a single 2-point field goal, which came almost four minutes into the fourth quarter.
“I ask them what defenses they want to run, and it allows them some freedom and collaboration. That puts them in the driver’s seat and enables us to be successful,” Short said. “At the same time, the expectation is that they need to do what is asked of them.”
Girls Basketball: Briar Woods senior Sara Duffie (10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists) leads the Falcons to a senior night win. @BWHSGirlsBball 49, @SBHSgirlsbball 31 FINAL #LoCoHoops @LoCoSports
— Owen Gotimer (@BigO_Gotimer) January 26, 2019
Briar Woods kept the young Bulldogs off balance all night as Stone Bridge failed to penetrate the Falcons’ defense and relied heavily on three-point shooting and offensive rebounding to keep them in the game through the first half.
Come the second half, however, it was all Falcons as Duffie and Co. turned up the pressure and ran away with the win.
“Sara can sometimes be underrated. She brings speed, she brings poise. Defensively, she’s all over the place,” Short said. “Anything that I ask her to do she does. She’s somebody who allows us to play the way we want to play.”
Short will need Duffie’s senior leadership down the stretch as Briar Woods looks to hold onto a top-4 seed heading into the Potomac District tournament. The No. 4 Falcons (5-4, 9-8) will look to stick to their winning ways when they travel to No. 8 John Champe (1-9, 6-11) on January 28. The No. 5 Bulldogs (4-6, 7-9) have their work cut out for them as they host No. 3 Potomac Falls (7-3, 14-4) in Ashburn the same night.
“The girls know we’re on a mission,” Short said. “Everyday they’re just building upon the day before. It’s been a different mentality the last couple of weeks, and they’ve really taken to that. They want it bad.”
Briar Woods Stats
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Stone Bridge Stats
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