Leesburg, Va. — In the program’s 66-year history, the Loudoun County High School boys basketball team had never experienced as much success as they did in the 2019-2020 season. Led by a strong senior class, the Raiders won the Dulles District regular season and tournament titles and, for the first time since the school opened in 1954, a region championship.
The VHSL Region 4C crown earned the Raiders the opportunity to “host” George Washington High School in a VHSL 4A State quarterfinal matchup at Riverside High School in Leesburg on March 6.
With the full support of the community, Loudoun County junior forward Nate Brown won the opening tip, and senior point guard Matt Anderson ran right past the Eagles’ defense to put the Raiders up 2-0. The hometown crowd went wild.
The game settled into a back-and-forth battle, drawing to a tie at 52-52 with less than two-and-a-half minutes to play. On the George Washington end, senior guard Taevon Walden drove to the basket, knocked into Loudoun County junior guard Caleb Rexroad, and put up a shot. The block-charge call went in favor of the Eagles, as Walden’s shot dropped through the net. And one.
Walden knocked down his free throw to complete the 3-point play, as George Washington pulled away, ending the Raiders’ historic season, 63-55.
“I told our guys in the locker room that they exceeded people’s expectations, because of the hard workers they are and the character guys that they are,” Loudoun County head coach Mark Alexander said. “They always believed they could win together, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
After Anderson’s 2-point bucket to open the game, the Shenandoah-commit finished with a game-high 21 points, doing everything in his power to keep Loudoun County in the ball game.
With less than three minutes to play in regulation and trailing 50-47, Anderson eyed up the George Washington defense. Then the senior point guard took things into his own hands, as he stepped back and drilled a three-pointer to even things out at 50-50.
“Matt Anderson gets the accolades he gets for good reason,” Alexander said.
While Anderson – who was named the VHSL Region 4C Player of the Year – paced the Raiders on offense, Loudoun County senior forward Luke Brenner kept his team churning on the defensive end, finishing with a near double-double, while defending the Eagles’ top scoring threat.
“Luke guards the best player. He gets loose balls like crazy. He rebounds,” Alexander said. “Luke’s a basketball player. He’s just gritty. He’s the glue guy.”
Despite their best effort, some things just didn’t go the Raiders’ way. A few missed scoring opportunities in the first half, a couple either-way calls going against them in the second, and the rebounding effort of George Washington junior forward Sha’Kobe Hairston were enough to lift the Eagles to victory.
“Man, did they get after it?” Alexander said. “They’re an amazingly athletic, hardworking, well-coached team.”
That hardworking team gets to see its season continue into a VHSL 4A State semifinal, while the Loudoun County Raiders (12-0, 21-6) will reflect on and celebrate the most successful season in the program’s history.
“Early in the season, I kept telling them they had a chance to do great things, and I don’t know that they even understood what I was talking about,” Alexander said. “They’re tremendous kids, and we’re going to miss them, but what they’ve done is set a standard for the younger guys. We don’t want this to be a one time deal and then 66 years later we do it again. We want to be back here soon.”
George Washington Stats
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Loudoun County Stats
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