Ashburn, Va. — The bright lights of the state championship game didn’t rattle them. Fans in the stands for the first time all season didn’t faze them. And a red hot Green Run Stallions team entering their house with hopes of celebrating on their bus ride home to Virginia Beach didn’t scare them.
Trailing by as many as 18 in the first quarter, the Stone Bridge Bulldogs never blinked.
The Stone Bridge High School boys basketball team knew exactly what they needed to do: play their game, feed off the energy from the hometown crowd, and meticulously chip away at the lead with a constant eye on the prize.
Led by junior guards Dylan Hundertmark and Jacob Thomas as well as senior forward Cole DeVido, Stone Bridge did just that, slowing down the Stallions’ offense, while playing unselfish basketball as the Bulldogs erased an 18-point deficit to upend Green Run and hoist the program’s first ever VHSL 5A State title, 86-78, on February 20 in Ashburn.
“It’s crazy. Winning the state championship, you might never experience that,” Thomas said. “Winning it is an amazing feeling.”
Green Run seniors Jacob Cooper, Elijah Kennedy, and Jaiden McIntosh had the hot hands early as the Stallions shot better than 75% from the field in the first quarter, scoring 36 points. However, the Bulldogs knew they had their weapons ready and as long as they could slow down the Stallions’ offense they could climb right back into the game.
“We just weren’t rebounding, and we weren’t playing tough enough defense,” Stone Bridge head coach Kent Kling said. “We switched some things around, got some different personnel on the floor.”
After whittling the Green Run lead to 12 at the half, Stone Bridge went to work in the third quarter. On the offensive end, DeVido grabbed an offensive rebound and quickly dished it to Thomas who finished underneath to cut the lead to 50-40. A few possessions later Thomas returned the favor and found DeVido open beyond the arc where he connected for three to cut the lead to 54-46. On the next offensive trip for Stone Bridge, senior guard Jerico Limcaoco also found DeVido, who again connected from three, cutting the lead to 54-49.
“It was the last game of my career, so I knew if I had space, I was letting it go,” DeVido said. “My teammates were great at getting to the hole which caused the defense to collapse, opening me up. It was a total team effort.”
Cooper and Thomas traded buckets over the next few possessions as the third quarter ended in favor of the Stallions, 60-55.
“That’s the best team we’ve seen all season,” Thomas said. “Our game plan was to try to take [Cooper and Kennedy] out of the game and see if their other players could beat us.”
Green Run tried to stall the Stone Bridge momentum to open the fourth quarter as Kennedy knocked down a pair of jump shots to increase the lead to 64-55.
That’s when Dylan Hundertmark took over.
Hundertmark got the limited crowd on its feet when he finished an and-one layup. He then grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled, knocking down both of his free throw attempts. Then Thomas grabbed an offensive rebound and found Hundertmark in the corner where he buried a three to cut the Stallions’ lead to 64-63.
“Our guys don’t care who scores; they find the opportunity and they take it,” Kling said. “We knew it would be a game of runs, and we had our run at the right time.”
Then, with the score sitting at 66-64, Hundertmark once again got to the basket where he finished to tie things up at 66-66.
“This is definitely a bittersweet moment. The ball didn’t go quite how we wanted it to,” Green Run head coach Kenneth Harris said. “Hats off to Stone Bridge; they got the best of us tonight.”
Now, midway through the fourth quarter, Thomas once again found an offensive rebound and finished, giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the game.
“[Jacob’s] probably the best two-sport athlete I’ve seen in our area,” Kling said. “He attacked the rim, grabbed rebounds, and just went out there and got it done.”
Having completely erased the Green Run lead, it was now Stone Bridge’s game to lose, but the Bulldogs showed no signs of slowing down as sophomore guard Sam Whitehead took his man right to the basket where he finished to expand the Stone Bridge lead to 70-67.
From there, the Bulldogs turned to their big three, who helped bring the state title back to Ashburn. Thomas led the way for the Bulldogs with 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists; Hundertmark finished with 27 points—including 18 in the fourth quarter; and DeVido put together a near double double with 20 points and 9 rebounds.
As the final seconds wound down, the bright lights of the state championship never seemed brighter. The fans in the stands for the first time all season started to sense it. And the red hot Stone Bridge Bulldogs never blinked.
“It’s been a crazy season, a crazy year. We just worked hard day in and day out,” DeVido said. “We just played our hearts out the entire season, and it led us to this win. I’m still soaking it all in.”
Stone Bridge Stats
Green Run Stats