Purcellville, VA (February 22, 2019) - When you get to the regional championship it's often hard to gauge the matchup. Common opponents had been dispatched by both teams so that wasn't much of an indicator. And each team had a stellar regular season, cruised through the district tournament, and fairly easy won their regional semifinal game.
With a spot in the state tournament already secured, both teams were positioned with a good chance to win a regional title. The Loudoun Valley Vikings had one distinct advantage as their home court filled early and fast with excited students and fans--who were also there to see their boys team play later in the evening. The Millbrook Pioneers would need to bring all of their experience and success to bear in this one.
Chas Sumser Photography was there to capture the action and emotion and posted a gallery of images from the game.
From the opening tipoff you could hear Vikings' coach Kenyamo McFarlane exhorting his players from the bench. "Go, go, go," he said virtually every time they touched the ball.
And it worked!
Especially on defense, Loudoun Valley was everywhere. Their press clamped down on the Pioneers and forced turnovers quickly and throughout the game. Halfway through the first period, the Vikings already led by eleven, 13-2, and they essentially never looked back.
For Valley, it was a total team effort, but Haley Pasqualone was the match that lit the fire. The senior was hitting everything from inside and outside and, in particular, every shot her team needed whenever Millbrook got close.
And, to their credit, the Pioneers did manage to make it close at times. In fact, when they cut the lead to eight early in the third quarter the Vikings were forced to call a timeout to reboot. When a big play was called for, Millbrook's Avery O'Roke was there in the clutch, handling the pressure and finding her teammates for good shots.
But, again, any time Millbrook got close there was Pasqualone or floor leader Olivia Badura to hit the big shot and sustain a ten-point lead virtually throughout the game. Impressively, Millbrook brought the difference down to just five points late in the fourth quarter. But, with only twelve seconds left to play it was too little too late.
Final Score: Loudoun Valley 78 - Millbrook 70