Ashburn, Va. — For the first time in nearly a decade, the Woodgrove High School girls basketball team will raise a district championship banner after claiming the regular season Potomac District championship with a win over Stone Bridge on January 30 in Ashburn.
Led by a balanced scoring attack and a well-executed defensive game plan, the Wolverines fended off numerous Stone Bridge rallies to defeat the Bulldogs, 61-54.
“What we tell our kids is if we do everything we’re supposed to, they have to play great to beat us—and they almost did,” Woodgrove head coach Derek Fisher said. “If we had lost that game, it would have been difficult, but we would have said, ‘hey, they played great.’ If someone’s going to beat us, they better bring it, and Stone Bridge did.”
After jumping out to an early 18-11 lead, the Wolverines were on their heels to start the second quarter as the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to open the quarter, completely erasing the score differential.
But for every Stone Bridge run, Woodgrove had an answer—and on this occasion it was junior forward Ashley Steadman who answered the call.
Over the next three minutes, Steadman knocked down a pair of 16-footers as well as a three pointer to lead the Wolverines on an 11-0 run as they took a 32-27 lead into the half.
“Runs happen. That’s basketball,” Steadman said. “We just kept our composure and kept playing our game.”
In the second half, it was freshman point guard Sadie Shores who had the hot hand, adding 11 to her team-high 14 points in the final two quarters.
The Wolverines finished with four players in double figures, including Shores, Steadman, sophomore forward Colette Baine, and junior shooting guard Tara Mullen.
“We want to have a lot of balance offensively. We don’t want to have one dominant scorer because that can be easier to defend,” Fisher said. “We feel like we always have an answer, but Stone Bridge made us work really hard to find that answer this afternoon.”
On the defensive end, Woodgrove also wanted to make Stone Bridge find a different answer by taking away senior center Sarah O’Day and senior shooting guard Taylor Hafer. The Wolverines were able to hold Hafer scoreless and kept O’Day—who finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds—relatively at bay.
“When you’re facing good players, you’re not going to stop all of them; you’ve got to try to limit all of them as much as you can, then pick and choose who’s going to be the one that you’re going to let try to beat you,” Fisher said. “The girls did a nice job of sticking to our game plan.”
While the Wolverines limited O’Day and Hafer to just 9 points combined, Stone Bridge junior guard Kat Cassidy took advantage, scoring a game-high 22 points.
“We know we didn’t put our best foot forward the first time we played them. We just wanted to compete. We knew they were going to bring great energy, especially defensively, so I could not be more proud of this team. It’s a different person every night,” Stone Bridge head coach Kyle Linder said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team-first mentality and the way these girls have handled all the adversity this season.”
Cassidy led the Bulldogs on runs throughout the game, including one in the fourth quarter that cut the Wolverines’ lead to just 4 with about four minutes to play.
“They’re a physical team, they’re an extremely well-coached team, they’re an extremely talented team,” Linder said. “We’ve been using a boxing analogy: we have to handle some of their haymakers, but we have to throw some haymakers back at them, and I think we did that today.”
After the final bell rang, the back-and-forth bout ended in favor of the Wolverines, who won their first regular season district title since 2013. The win also earned Woodgrove (11-0, 11-0) the No. 1 seed in the VHSL Region 5C tournament starting on February 8. Stone Bridge (10-2, 10-2) earned the No. 2 seed and will host a region quarterfinal on the same night.
“It was a really tough game, and they fought the whole time,” Steadman said. “We knew it was a big game coming in, so we just focused on executing our game plan.”
Stone Bridge Stats