Leesburg, Va. — After grabbing a small lead after the first quarter, the Loudoun County High School boys basketball team watched their advantage whittle away slowly but surely, before Broad Run cut the lead to just 26-25 heading into the fourth quarter. Despite scoring just 26 points through the first 24 minutes, the Captains weren’t concerned—as they’re used to playing in and winning low-scoring games—but they knew they needed to find some offense in order to hold off the weapons the Spartans have.
An explosive fourth quarter by senior guard Zach Hensch and Loudoun County going a perfect 6-for-6 from the line in the final eight minutes gave the Captains the edge they needed to hold off the Spartans, 39-36, in a Dulles District battle on January 24 in Leesburg.
“Playing here, over the last few years, we’ve figured out a way to pull out some wins when it looked like maybe it wouldn’t go our way,” Loudoun County head coach Mark Alexander said. “That’s the kids. They just gutted it out.”
Loudoun County fell into a deficit early as Broad Run freshman shooting guard Adam Perdue knocked down a pair of early threes to give the Spartans a 7-2 lead. The Captains, however, never wavered as senior forward Joey Fitzpatrick hit a three of his own and senior guard Johnny Penberthy hit a jumper at the buzzer as Loudoun County closed the first quarter on a 10-0 run to give themselves a 12-7 lead after the first.
In the second quarter, the Spartans continued to shoot as Perdue connected on his third three pointer of the night and senior forward Luke Simmons gave Broad Run the lead with a three of his own. That lead was short-lived, however, as Penberthy hit a three of his own to tie things up before senior point guard Braxton Griffin finished an and-one opportunity to give the Captains a 21-18 lead at the half.
“Johnny paid his penance last year; he hardly played and got beat to hell at practice by Jimmy Daughtrey and Brendan Boyers,” Alexander said. “This year, he’s been playing well. He’s very smart, runs the stuff. He’s just a County player.”
Coming out of the half, Broad Run senior forward Matin Perdue scored a quick bucket then later senior guard Eli Will made a free throw to tie things up at 21-21, but Penberthy again had an answer to give the Captains the lead back.
“They have a lot of offensive threats. Matin’s midrange and his height, he can really use those to his advantage,” Penberthy said. “Eli Will is really agile and uses his strength to back you down. We just had to be quick and get around the screens then box out and rebound well to limit their opportunities.”
Against a much taller team, the Captains knew they’d have their work cut out for them on the glass, but Fitzpatrick took matters into his own hands, grabbing a game-high 12 boards to help Loudoun County match Broad Run rebound for rebound throughout the night.
“Rebounding has been a point of emphasis. We work on it nonstop,” Alexander said. “We’ve won games and been behind in the rebounds, so I didn’t expect to break even with them.”
Trailing early in the fourth quarter, Loudoun County needed to find an offensive spark and got one in the form of Hensch who buried a three then a few possessions later hit a midrange jumper to put the Captains up 33-29.
“I called a time out and said ‘we win low-scoring games, but it would help if we scored a couple buckets,’” Alexander said. “Then Hensch scored a couple and Jack West got going.”
Despite not having a single scorer in double digits, the Captains gutted out a win over Broad Run to create an additional game of separation between themselves and the Spartans just after the midway point of the district season.
Loudoun County (8-1, 12-4) will look to add to that cushion when they travel to Lightridge on January 25 in Aldie. Broad Run (6-4, 10-6) will look to bounce back when they host Heritage on the same night.
Loudoun County Stats
Broad Run Stats