Brendan Boyers made it to the free throw line with 40.5 seconds left and a three-point lead for his Loudoun County captains in Friday’s men’s basketball Class 4 quarterfinal game at Leesburg.
The guard made his first try before missing the second. Under two possessions with plenty of time on the clock, the next play was a dagger for the Hilltoppers. Loudoun County got an offensive rebound, then bled seven more seconds on the clock.
A glass turnover and two more free throws later, the captains had added enough cushion on the scoreboard to withstand the Hilltoppers’ late push. Loudoun County kept its season alive with a 51-47 victory, abruptly ending Glass’ participation in the state tournament, his first since the 2017-18 season.
“We played hard,” Glass’ coach DJ Best said. “…But I hope it put a taste in their mouths that they didn’t want to feel.”
Best, who was making his first trip to the tournament with the ‘Toppers since taking the helm, said Friday’s loss was down to a lack of execution.
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What worked in the third quarter, when they beat the Captains 14-7 to shoot even at 34-all, didn’t work in the fourth.
A few turnovers, missed easy shots at the rim early in the period and an inability to pull rebounds at times were issues in the final frame.
The Hilltoppers (21-6) led twice in the quarter, near the six-minute mark when Camp Conner hit a 3 to put his team up 40-37, and when Keyon Hopkins knocked down a pair of free throws in less than three minutes. going to give Glass a 44-43 lead.
But on the next possession, Loudoun County’s Braxton Griffin got past his defender and got a shot to fall on Glass’ 6-foot-8 defender Owen Dunlop. The bucket put the captains (22-6) in place for good.
Glass then returned the ball and had to foul to extend the game. The captains went 6-for-10 from the line for major insurance runs.
Aiden Treacy missed a potentially even 3-pointer before Boyers’ free throw and Loudoun County’s important offensive rebound.
O’Maundre Harris hit a 3 with 3.5 seconds left to cut the lead to 50-47. It looked like he may have forced a turnover on the ensuing inbound pass, but he was out of bounds when he secured the ball, and Loudoun County hit 1 of their last 2 attempts since the line to seal it.
“I just didn’t shoot enough, didn’t execute, again,” Best said, also referring to the Hilltoppers’ loss in the 4D Region Championship which forced them to take the road to Friday’s state game. “I didn’t have enough attention to detail. That was always going to be our problem. At this stage, you must have an eye for detail.
The Hilltoppers gave up open shots in the first half, then locked in the third quarter. But late mental errors – coupled with a more stagnant offense in the fourth quarter, with many players on the pitch more focused on solid defense than scoring – led to their downfall.
Harris was the only double-digit scorer for Glass, finishing with a game-high 20 points. He also had three rebounds and three steals.
Jack West and Boyers each had 14 points for LC.
GIRLS: Millbrook 56, EC Glass 33
At Winchester, Avery O’Roke had 21 of his 26 points in the first half to give Millbrook a big lead that they never relinquished in a victory on Friday, ending the Hilltoppers’ season in the quarter-finals class 4 final.
According to Glass coach Cedric Jones — who was named 4D Region Coach of the Year on Friday — Millbrook got pretty much everything he wanted offensively. Glass gave wide-opening shots to O’Roke, a senior, and the Hilltoppers returned the ball to a high clip to create easy scoring opportunities for the Pioneers (24-2).
“You’re not going to win games like that,” Jones said.
The Hilltoppers (22-5) got 10 points each from reliable seniors Jamiyah Henry and Jordyn Wright-Goode, but that wasn’t enough for Glass to turn around the 32-12 halftime deficit he was in confronted with.
Henry had both 3-pointers from Glass. Jeriyah Osborne scored five points, all from the free throw line. Normally above the charity band average, the ‘Toppers only went 9 of 21 on Friday.
Wright-Goode added eight rebounds to her final line, and Harper Williamson had four blocks and five rebounds.
O’Roke went 2 for 2 from the line and hit four 3s, and Kennedi Rooks had 14 points.
The Hilltoppers reached the state tournament for the second time in three years and third time in program history, following appearances in 2020 and 2011. Although the Hilltoppers did not advance past the quarterfinals in any of those projections, Jones praised the current team — especially upperclassmen like Henry, Wright-Goode and Osborne — for propelling a meteoric rise for Glass through the region’s women’s basketball ranks.
With two trips to the state tournament in their career and a 39-game winning streak in district play, Jones pointed out that the older players have “made Glass women’s basketball history.”
“I told the girls that they should always hold their heads up high,” he said, adding that he hopes the success “gives young girls a good feeling and puts a little pep under their feet. to get back to that spot in the playoffs and beyond.