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State tournament bound: Woodgrove Wolverines

photoWoodgrove players and fans rejoice in the final moments of a Feb. 10 victory against Loudoun County. The win earned the second-year Wolverines a share of the Dulles District season title.—Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny


Woodgrove Wolverines

Coach: Kevin Copley
Record: 24-4, Dulles District season co-champions
All-District players: Jr. Sarah Hardison (Division 3 Player of the Year); Stephanie Purnell (first team)
State Quarterfinals: March 3 vs. James Monroe at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond

To say the Woodgrove High School girls basketball team has improved from the 2010-2011 season to the current season is an understatement.

The second-year Wolverines, devoid of seniors, have tripled the amount of games they won, going from 7-14 a year ago to their current 24-4 record.

“Last year, we were in a lot of close games. We lost seven or eight games in overtime or at the buzzer,” coach Kevin Copley said. “We’ve learned how to win close games and that comes with experience.”

Though the team lost the regional title game against defending state champion Liberty, the Wolverines still qualify for the school’s first ever state tournament.

The girls rely on a oppressive defense and an unrelenting backcourt press, holding Liberty to just 39 points and losing by only a five point margin. Additionally, Copley boasts the team has reliable players both starting and on the bench, a characteristic that helped earned Woodgrove their share of the regular district title.

“We’re 10 to 12 girls deep,” Copley said. “We’re averaging nine or 10 girls scoring every night. Every night, someone comes off the bench and puts up 10-12 points.”

The Wolverines are led in scoring by Dulles District Division 3 Player of the Year Sarah Hardison and All-District forward Stephanie Purnell. But Copley says all the girls will need to contribute in order to achieve success in the state tournament.

“The games we lost, it’s not that we didn’t get shots. We didn’t get the ball in the hoop,” Copley said.
Woodgrove will travel to Richmond March 3 to face James Monroe (21-7) at VCU in the Virginia Division 3 state quarterfinal game.

The Wolverines are confident they can hang with the teams and set a goal early on to reach the state tournament. Copley knows that a positive attitude is key to the team’s success.

“We need to get off to a good start early,” Copley said. “They need to maintain the confidence that they can play with teams at this level.”

With this young of a team, and this much talent, one thing is certain: the possibilities, both this year and next, are limitless.

photoWoodgrove junior Stephanie Purnell prepares to take a shot with Loudoun County senior Katrina Kirby defending. Purnell and the Wolverines will play their first-ever state tournament game March 3 against James Monroe.—Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny



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