Leesburg, Va. — In basketball, one quarter can make or break the game. And after a slow first half, the Tuscarora High School girls basketball team had the third quarter they needed. Led by sophomore point guard Grace Middleton, the Huskies outscored Broad Run High School 20-6 in the third quarter to help them erase a small halftime deficit and take a commanding lead from which they’d never look back as they defeated the Spartans, 47-40, on February 4 in Leesburg.
“I went in there and just told them to calm down. They were playing with so much energy that it was taking our energy to almost to a chaotic level. We just wanted to breathe,” Tuscarora head coach Tayler Dodson said. “I thought we came out of the half with the same energy, it was just more composed.”
Trailing 20-19 at the half, the Huskies came out on fire to start the second half, going on a 17-2 run to open the third quarter. In that third quarter, Middleton added 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals to her impressive 25-point, 7-rebound, 5-assist night.
“It was a really high-energy quarter, so we scored a lot on fast breaks,” Middleton said. “We played really good team ball which was different from our slow first quarter.”
Where Tuscarora really started to come alive was in their transition offense which started with the defensive play of sophomore shooting guard Colette Morris and freshman forward Alysa Carrigan.
“Colette was playing lockdown defense on [Lee], and Alyssa did a phenomenal job of just rebounding and pitching ahead,” Dodson said. “Then Grace just did what Grace does.”
Morris had her hands full throughout the night, defending Broad Run junior point guard Yvonne Lee—who finished with 17 points and 8 boards—while Carrigan was a stonewall in the paint, picking up 5 blocked shots while also pushing the ball down court in transition.
“Alyssa is athletic as all get out and plays so hard,” Dodson said. “She blocks the shot, gets the rebound, and takes a dribble and pitches it ahead, so she’s essentially running the transition on her own. She just does the little things so well.”
With the win, Tuscarora (5-1, 12-2) secured a berth in the VHSL Region 4C tournament and a shot at the district championship trophy, however, the No. 2 Huskies will need their entire team to step up if they want to get past the stalwart-favorite and top-ranked Loudoun Valley Vikings (5-0, 13-0) on February 5 in Purcellville.
“With Valley’s defense, we can’t start the way we started tonight,” Dodson said. “We want to try to have the third quarter we had tonight in the first quarter tomorrow. We just want to start strong and see where the game takes us.”
Broad Run Stats