Purcellville, Va. — Coming off a one-point loss at Broad Run just three nights before, the Loudoun Valley High School boys basketball team was looking to get back on track to finish out the second half of their district schedule with some momentum. After extending their lead to 15 early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings fought off a tremendous run by Lightridge to outlast the Lightning, 64-63, on February 6 in Purcellville.
Down the stretch, Loudoun Valley junior guard Landen Conrad went 6-for-6 from the free throw line to keep the Lightning just out of reach until the final horn blew. The free throws were huge considering the Vikings were 2-for-8 before that stretch by Conrad.
“I was just thinking about my routine and making the free throws,” Conrad said. “We were able to execute that down the stretch.”
Throughout the night it felt like the Vikings had multiple opportunities to put the game out of reach, and up until about the 2:00 mark in the fourth quarter, it felt like they would coast to a victory. However, trailing 58-46, the Lightning cut the lead to single digits on a three by junior guard Carter Working. A few possessions later, a three-pointer by sophomore guard Joshua Wu made it a two possession game.
“We had been going in the right direction, then we had a little speed bump last Friday, and I think we felt a little of the after effects tonight,” Loudoun Valley head coach Chad Dawson said. “We got up a few times, but we wouldn’t solidify the lead.”
An exciting and-one finish by Lightridge senior forward Cole Lechner cut the lead to three, before Conrad knocked down his third and fourth straight free throws of the fourth quarter. Lechner—who finished with a game-high 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds—connected on a three-pointer on the next Lightning trip to cut the Loudoun Valley lead to just 2.
Conrad—who finished with 16 points, 7 assists, and 3 steals—then knocked down his fifth and sixth straight free throws before Working drilled a three to cut the lead to one. However, with less than five seconds on the game clock after Working’s make, the Vikings never had to even inbound the ball before the clock expired.
Throughout the game, Loudoun Valley dominated the offensive glass, collecting 15 offensive boards that led to at least a dozen second-chance points, which, ultimately, proved to be the difference in the win.
“We definitely needed that tonight, because we didn’t shoot as well from the outside,” Dawson said. “We had a lot of guys on the boards.”
One of the Vikings who grabbed an offensive board was sole senior Brett Zimmet, who was celebrated before the game for his four years of dedication to the Loudoun Valley basketball program. Zimmet finished his senior night game with 5 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals.
“Brett’s a great kind, very unassuming. He just does whatever you need him to do,” Dawson said. “If you need him to come off the bench, if you need him to guard the other team’s best player, if you need him to rebound, if you need him to shoot, he’s very good at it.”
With the playoffs just around the corner, Dawson will certainly ask Zimmet to showcase his senior leadership in the final few days of the regular season before the Vikings start to prepare for the Dulles District tournament starting February 13.
“We’ve been playing really well in the second half of the season, and that’s where we want to be peaking, heading into the tournament,” Dawson said. “These kids are fun to coach, and they work really hard, so I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Katey Jackson captured 200+ photos at the game!
Loudoun Valley Stats