Leesburg, Va. — It was a slow start for the Broad Run High School girls basketball team, but the message at halftime was simple: stay the course.
“We wanted to keep playing good defense and taking care of the rebounds,” Broad Run head coach Kate Culhane said. “We just stayed positive and talked about staying the course regardless of what was going on.”
Trailing Tuscarora 15-14 at the half, the Spartans used a spark in the third quarter to pull away from the Huskies, before eventually securing the win, 52-41, on January 12 in Leesburg.
“We’ve been working really hard to be ready for this stretch of games,” Culhane said. “It was a tough game, because Tuscarora is a really good team, but luckily, we were able to figure it out.”
Through the entire first half, the Spartans made just 4 field goals while turning the ball over 17 times. Fortunately for them, the Huskies offense also struggled to get going, before taking the lead heading into the half on a pair of free throws after the horn.
Early in the third quarter, Broad Run sophomore guard Alexandra Gonzalez retook the lead for the Spartans when she stole the ball and finished herself to put her team up 16-15. From that point forward, the Spartans never trailed again.
“We tried to be more patient and just took what they gave us,” Culhane said. “We just trusted what we were capable of doing.”
After Gonzalez put her team up, the Spartans started to spread the ball around as senior point guard Yvonne Lee, junior guard Sajol Thornhill, junior forward Gabby Vanik, and Gonzalez each scored four points apiece in the third to give Broad Run a 30-22 lead heading into the final quarter.
Throughout the night, Tuscarora used a full court press to keep Broad Run off balance, but by late in the second half, the Spartans had learned to take better care of the basketball, relying on crisp passes to move the ball up the court to score in transition.
For every Broad Run bucket, Tuscarora had a response as they kept the game close until late thanks to the scoring ability of junior point guard Grace Middleton, who finished with a game high 27 points.
It’s an important win and helps us believe in what we’re doing and hopefully we can keep doing it. We have to keep working everyday. It’s never over so the work never stops.
—Broad Run head coach Kate Culhane
Midway through the fourth quarter, Middleton hit a three to pull the Huskies within 5 then knocked down a couple free throws to eventually cut the lead to just 2.
However, on the other end, Broad Run senior forward Sydney Sokol finished a tough post move underneath before Lee hit her one and only three pointer of the night to re-extend the Spartans’ lead to 41-35. After another Sokol bucket, Middleton hit another three to cut the lead to 43-38, but Gonzalez responded on the other end with a three of her own as Broad Run answered on almost every offensive possession down the stretch to maintain their distance and hold off the Huskies, 52-41.
When it came time to shine, the Spartans did just that, spreading their scoring around as Gonzalez, Lee, and Vanik all finished with double figures, while Sokol chipped in 9. Vanik also hauled in 12 rebounds to round out her 11-point, 12-rebound double double.
“They believe in each other, we believe in them, and it gives us a lot more options to spread the love,” Culhane said.
With the win, Broad Run (6-0, 9-2) maintains the No. 1 spot in the Dulles District approaching the midway point of the district schedule. Through those district games, the Spartans have outscored their opponents by an average score of 62-30 and show no signs of slowing down.
“It’s an important win and helps us believe in what we’re doing and hopefully we can keep doing it,” Culhane said. “We have to keep working everyday. It’s never over so the work never stops.”
Broad Run Stats