Broad Run senior Ellie Ferguson scored 10 points through the first three quarters of the Spartans' Cedar Run District tournament first round game Feb. 5 against Freedom High School in Ashburn.
The host Spartans held a favorable 35-27 lead on the Eagles, but Carson Nizialek cut the advantage to five with a 3-pointer to start the quarter. Trusting in their senior leader, the Spartans put the ball in Ferguson's hands.
Ferguson's shot sailed through the hoop, netting not only insurance points for the Spartans, but Ferguson's 1,000 career point. Ferguson is just the fifth girl in school history to reach this milestone.
“It's incredible. I didn't even know about it until a couple of games ago,” Ferguson said. “I had just been focusing on making the team better and this sort of came.”
Ferguson would finish up the game with 15 points, contributing to the Spartans' 53-43 victory over the Eagles, something Ferguson was more concerned with.
“She's a blessing,” Broad Run coach Sean Gundry. “You couldn't ask for a better player, a better student or a better person.”
The game began slowly, with both teams taking more than four minutes of game time to net their first baskets. The first quarter concluded after a defensive struggle between the squads with a score of just 7-4.
Both Broad Run (12-11) and Freedom (10-13) jockeyed for a lead in the second quarter, with nine lead changes or ties in the second quarter alone. Taylor Tashjian made a layup while getting fouled and then sunk the free throw to put the Spartans up 18-15 at halftime.
If the fourth quarter belonged to Ferguson, then the third quarter belonged to Broad Run freshman Mariah Leonard. Leonard exploded after halftime, forcing multiple turnovers and scoring 10 points in the third quarter.
“I just really wanted to get past the first round of districts for everyone on my team,” Leonard said.
The game slowly grew out of reach for the Eagles, who continued to foul in the fourth in an attempt to come back. The Spartans made 10 of 16 free throws to pad their lead and ultimately move on to semifinals.
“Freedom was a different team than the first time we played them,” Gundry said. “They gave us all we could handle last Friday when we played them and they gave us everything we could handle tonight.”
Leonard led the game in scoring with 18 total points, with all but four of those points coming in the second half. Leonard also pulled down a career-high 27 rebounds. Senior guard Alyssa Cabellos added 12 points.
Arnelle Collins led the Eagles with 13 points, while Nizialek and Alicia Klinko each snagged eight.
The Spartans now move on to face Cedar Run District regular season champion Stonewall Jackson (18-3) in the semifinals Feb. 6 in Manassas.
Broad Run 53, Freedom 43
BR: Leonard 18, Ferguson 15, Cabellos 12, Tashjian 6, Kamara 2
F: Collins 13, Klinko 8, Nizialek 8, Thomas 7, Chernault 3, Melvin 2, Hartless 2
Halftime: Broad Run 18-15
3-pointers: BR 1 (Cabellos); F 4 (Chernault, Nizialek, Collins, Thomas)
Free throws: BR (14 of 27); F (7 of 14)