Purcellville, VA (February 5, 2021) - In a normal season, the house for the Dulles District girls basketball championship game would be rocking with anticipation and excitement. But without fans in the stands, momentum would have to come from the players on the court and on the sidelines.

The home team was the favorite. Sporting an unblemished 13-0 record, the Loudoun Valley Vikings had rolled through the regular season. On the other bench, the Tuscarora Huskies also had a stellar season with a record of 12-2. But those two January losses were to tonight's opponent, and they had come by 29 and 19 points, respectively. 

Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.

The first minutes of the game went as expected with Valley rushing to a 9-4 lead behind organized and methodical team play and a suffocating press. But once Tuscarora figured out how to get by the Viking defense it was game on, and at the end of the first quarter, the Huskies had moved ahead, 17-16.

Adjusting to a height disadvantage, the Huskies instituted a smothering strategy of their own and forced the Vikings out of their offensive patterns. They expanded their lead to 19-16 before Valley pushed back, and at halftime the teams were tied, 24-24.

After halftime, the Vikings resumed their stifling defense, and this time it had the intended effect. Twice, the Huskies broke the press with a court-long inbounds pass, but both were fumbled and turned over. Loudoun Valley took advantage and built its largest lead, 34-27, midway through the third quarter. Tuscarora battled back, but was still down, 37-33, as the quarter ended.

And the Huskies were not about to give up. Getting contributions from everywhere--including a roaring group of bench players who provided the energy that absent fans could not--they chipped away at the Valley lead and with 1:38 to go the game was tied, 42-42.  

The game took a potentially huge turn when Valley star Jane Bodamer was fouled and injured with just under thirty seconds remaining. Unable to take her foul shots, she was replaced by Abigail Hall who had not been in the game, but calmly sank the game winning free throws. Tuscarora had a final chance to tie, but their last three-point shot fell short.

In the end, the scoreboard showed the expected victory for the Vikings, but they had to earn  it by defeating a team they had beaten twice easily less than a month ago. Although the Huskies didn't win, they clearly established themselves as a threat to be dealt with in the upcoming regionals.

Final Score: Loudoun Valley 47 - Tuscarora 44

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