Loudoun County, Va. — As the high school boys basketball regular season starts to wind down in Loudoun County, a few local teams have continued to stand out from the crowd, while several others are potential contenders. Each week, Owen Gotimer and I will be alternating releasing our boys and girls basketball rankings. In a three-district county, we wanted a way to put things into perspective. Enter: the LoCo Top 5.
It’s getting close to playoff time, but before that we still have some more games to decide seeding.
Let’s start out with the Dulles District, where Dominion has a chance to really establish themselves on February 11 against first place Loudoun County. A win solidifies the Titans into the second place and a win for Loudoun County locks them into the first spot (they’d have to lose out to lose that spot). That game will be broadcast live at locosports.info/live.
It’s a matchup between the top two Dulles teams right now, and with both teams streaking, it should be a great game.
On the same day, Loudoun Valley will once again go on the road to take on Heritage. They’ve lost three of four and (spoiler alert) dropped out of the top five. Heritage isn’t a great team, but they can put up points in a hurry and could bother the Vikings.
Moving over to the Potomac District, on February 13, Potomac Falls takes on Stone Bridge in Ashburn. Look forward to that rematch as they battle for that second spot in the Potomac District.
On February 18, Stone Bridge travels to South Riding to take on first place Freedom. Depending on how these other games turn out, that could be for first place in the Potomac District.
It’s going to be a great two weeks of hoops.
Of course, if you’re into hard numbers, check out the full Cedar Run District, Potomac District, and Dulles District standings.
If, for some unbeknownst reason, you’re here to listen to my opinion, well let’s get started.
1. John Champe (8-2, 17-5) —
John Champe heads into the playoffs after a thrilling last second win against Stonewall Jackson on February 7, a game they won on an Ishmael Carter three-pointer as the buzzer sounded. Now, needing a last second shot to beat a 7-14 team isn’t ideal, but at this point in the year, you take wins anyway you can.
— LoCoSports (@LoCoSports) February 8, 2020
It’s tourney time for the Knights, as they’ll host the winner of Battlefield and Osbourn Park on February 12 in a Cedar Run District semifinal. Luckily for them, they won’t be taking on Patriot until the championship, if they get there, as the Pioneers are winners of their last 13.
It’s been a great season for head coach Walter Webb’s team, and they’ll start their playoff journey before any other team in Loudoun.
2. Freedom (7-3, 13-7) —
First things first, Freedom picked up huge wins against Rock Ridge and Potomac Falls to stabilize what had been a mini free-fall after a blowout from Briar Woods and a close loss to Riverside. First place in the district must feel pretty good for head coach Justin Powers and his crew, and now they get to the point of the year when they can really thrive: the playoffs.
Powers’ ability to make quick adjustments and this team’s versatility makes his squad one uniquely equipped for the playoffs. On any given night, someone can go off – Elijah Easter, Robbie Kemmerer, Lance Johnson, shoot, even throw my boy Anish Kalyan in after he dropped 13 on the Panthers in their last game.
They’ve got one pretty winnable game against Woodgrove (sorry Brock Redman, love the hair), and then it’s a rematch against Stone Bridge.
3. Loudoun County (10-0, 15-5) +2
The first team from the Dulles District, the Loudoun County Raiders are playing spectacularly.
They’re the most consistent team in Loudoun, and it starts with the varied levels of scoring they have. If you stop senior point guard Matt Anderson, you have to deal with senior forward Mark Siegel. If you stop Siegel, then it’s junior guard Caleb Rexroad. Stop him and you still have to deal with up-and-coming junior center Nate Brown. Loudoun County also has some talented supporting characters like senior forward Luke Brenner and senior guard Jared Briscoe.
Give me a second to catch my breath that was a lot.
If you somehow stop all of them by putting prime Scottie Pippen, Kawhi Leonard, and David Robinson on your defense, you still have to score against the best defense in the entire county, one that allows less than 50 points a game.
Big game against Dominion on February 11, but they’ll finish as the one seed barring a catastrophe and are a headache for anyone on any given night.
4. Potomac Falls (6-3, 13-6) -1
There’s going to be people not happy about Stone Bridge being shut out of the list despite having basically the same record as the Panthers, but I’m going to keep it real with y’all, my loyal readers: if you lose by 30 points to Riverside and score under 30, it’s hard to justify yourself as a Top 5 team.
But enough about the Bulldogs, let’s talk about Potomac Falls. It’s a roster with some clear flaws – a lack of secondary creation being the first one – but if I’m any of these teams in the playoffs, I’m scared to death of having to face Landon Hawes and Jalen Coker being coached by Jeff Hawes.
The trio is dynamic, and despite the loss to Freedom on February 7, they’re still going to outmatch most teams, as was shown in their 22-point win on January 24 against…you guessed it, the Stone Bridge Bulldogs.
5. Dominion (8-2, 14-5) +3
What a win for Dominion against Loudoun Valley on February 6, one of those wins that can really turn a season around. They’ve finally shed the label of shrinking in big moments.
Long story short: the Titans are a good defensive team that could rise to a higher level based on their two primary creators, senior guards Sam Shelton and Max Mancuso.
Hot take: I’m going to predict them to win against Loudoun County on February 11.
Now that I’ve said that? They’re going to lose by 30.
On the bubble: Rock Ridge (5-4, 11-7), Stone Bridge (6-3, 13-5)
Wanna discuss the rankings? Hit me up via email at email@example.com or on Twitter/Instagram @byvarunshankar.