Leesburg, VA (February 21, 2020) - This is what it's all about: playoff basketball in one of the grand old gyms in the area filled to the rafters with Jungle denizens and riotous Raiders. The arena was so full it seemed almost hard to breathe, and the tension was palpable.
It has been a long time since Loudoun County was the host and the favorite. For the past several years, the Loudoun Valley Vikings were consistently the team to beat, and now they were in the underdog role.
As far as the regular season had gone, In quick succession the Raiders had won both regular season matchups by almost identical scores just five days apart. But, as everyone knows, familiarity breeds, well, familiarity, and it's always hard to beat the same team three times in a season.
And the first quarter proved that the old adage just might be true as the Vikings, led as always by Trent Dawson, broke out to a surprising 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. But the Raiders got it going and closed out the period effectively pulling back to within three, 11-8.
The pace of play was furious as the second quarter began with Loudoun County finally tying the score, 20-20, and then pulling ahead for a 25-21 halftime lead. It wasn't a big lead, but it was one they would never relinquish.
The Raiders roared out of the locker room, making it 42-20 as the third quarter ended. It looked like the Vikings were finally done, but no one told the Loudoun Valley players to quit so they forced their way back into it and narrowed the County lead to just three, 42-39, with four minutes left in the game.
But Matthew Anderson and his mates had not come this far to let the lead entirely slip away. And with solid defense and clutch free throws, they pulled away for the win. With time running out, Anderson walked over to the student faithful and raised his victorious hands to the sky. Moments later, those hands would hold high the Dulles District regular season and tournament championship trophies.
Final Score: Loudoun County 51 - Loudoun Valley 43