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    Vikings declaw Panthers to remain undefeated

    photoLoudoun Valley senior Jovon Miller dribbles the ball past Potomac Falls senior D’Shawn Shorts during a Dec. 14 game against Potomac Falls. Miller had 10 points in the 62-46 win. —Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny

    When a boys basketball game between Loudoun Valley and Potomac Falls hit halftime Dec. 14, both squads were still vying for a solid lead. The Vikings held a 28-24 edge, but the feisty Panthers kept clawing back.

    But the host Vikings silenced their opponents in the second half, dominating both inside the perimeter and out, to defeat the Panthers 62-46.

    The game was a late vengeance for Valley, who fell to Potomac Falls last year in the Region II title game. The Vikings won the first three games between the teams last season, including a 57-37 victory in the Dulles District title game.

    “It was a good win,” senior Josh Grimard said. “Last time we played them, we lost in the region championship. We’re going in the right direction of where we need to be.”

    But more than that, it was a coming-out party for the Vikings, who are seeking to solidify themselves atop the district.

    “We’re trying to reassert ourselves back from AAA and the kids really battled back tonight after a slow start,” Viking coach Chad Dawson said.

    Valley began the game sluggish, allowing Potomac Falls to go on a 7-0 run to start the game. But the Vikings eventually answered back, scoring seven points of their own to tie the game up midway through the first before taking a 14-12 lead to end the first quarter.

    Though the Vikings led by seven for much of the second quarter, the Panthers were able to fight back into contention, in part because Grimard, Valley’s top scorer, spent much of the quarter on the bench in foul trouble.

    The third quarter began with a big 3-pointer from Valley sophomore Dalton Smolens. The two teams traded foul shots, with Potomac Falls’ Steven Tondi sinking one of two and Smolens hitting both to put the Vikings up 33-27.

    “Right off the bat, in the first few minutes, Dalton came in and gave us that spark that we needed,” Grimard said.

    The Panthers notched a quick five to put them right back at the Vikings’ heels. But Loudoun Valley turned on the burners, going on an 11-2 run to end the third quarter. As if to emphasize their depth, four Vikings contributed to the 11 point total.

    “We have very good shooters,” Dawson said. “And we like to keep the floor space.”

    The Panthers were unable to respond and Valley led by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter before ultimately winning by 16.

    Grimard led all scorers with 19 points, including nine points from behind the arc. Sophomore Paul Rowley added 14 points and Jovon Miller notched 10. The Vikings hit a whopping eight 3-pointers during the game.

    “We put a lot of trust in our shooters,” Miller said. “We tell them to be ready to shoot at all times.”

    Potomac Falls freshman Michael Janowski led the Panthers with 16 points, while sophomore Wanya Allen added 13.

    Valley (3-0 in district play, 6-0 overall) defeated Millbrook the following night Dec. 15 to start the season with six straight wins.

    Potomac Falls (3-1, 4-2) returns to action Dec. 17, when it travels to Ashburn to take on Stone Bridge while Loudoun Valley next plays Dec. 18 at Briar Woods.

    Loudoun Valley 62, Potomac Falls 46

    PF: Janowski 16, Allen 13, Orbe 5, Fischetti 4, Thomas 4, Shorts 3, Tondi 1

    LV: Grimard 19, Rowley 14, Miller 10, Kiani 8, Smolens 7, DeLeonardis 2, McDyre 2

    Halftime: Loudoun Valley, 28-24

    All photos by Beverly Denny
    For more photos, go to


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