Struggling to knock down shots for most of the first half against rival Loudoun County in a pivotal AA Dulles District girls basketball game, Woodgrove turned to Stephanie Purnell to swing the momentum.
The 6-foot senior center delivered. Purnell scored all 11 of her first-half points during the final three minutes of the second quarter to bring the host Wolverines within 24-23 of the Raiders at halftime Jan. 4 in Purcellville.
The strong close to the first half carried over into the third quarter. Sparked by an effective press and improved shooting, Woodgrove outscored Loudoun County, 17-5, in the first six-plus minutes of the second half to build an 11-point lead.
The Wolverines maintained at least a six-point advantage the rest of the game on their way to a 58-49 victory.
“That’s what a rivalry is all about. They played great defense, we played great defense,” Woodgrove coach Kevin Copley said. “I told our girls to keep shooting the ball, it is going to start going in and eventually it did ... we took advantage of our post presence inside and that helped get us going.”
The win moves Woodgrove (9-0 in district play, 10-1 overall) into sole possession of first place in the Dulles standings. Loudoun County (8-1, 11-2) suffered its first district loss of the season.
“It’s always going to be a tough game,” Copley said. “Both of us have good programs at every level. We did use this as a measuring stick. Loudoun County is a very good team.”
Purnell finished with a game-high 21 points and also pulled down 17 rebounds.
“When we weren’t scoring, we finally got the ball inside to her and she took the game over,” Copley said. “I challenged her a little bit on the sideline. I told her big players show up for big games and she did. She took over and that’s what we needed. When we get our inside-outside game going, we are a tough basketball team.”
Sophomore Brooke Basinger also had a big game for the Wolverines. With senior guard Sarah Hardison out due to a separated shoulder, Basinger earned the start and scored 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the decisive third quarter.
Basinger, whose sister Brittany is a senior on the team, agreed with Copley that Purnell’s presence led to better looks from the outside. Brooke Basinger has scored 35 points in her last two games.
“With Sarah being out, she stepped up and started,” Copley said of Brooke. “She is definitely a player that needs to be on the floor. We are fortunate that we are deep. We play 10 or 11 girls most games.”
Woodgrove junior Halle Lynch scored seven of her 10 points in the third quarter. Brittany Basinger, Maggie Buxton and Linsey Fagan each added four points.
Junior Maggie Phillips paced the Raiders with 15 points. Chloe Knox and Tayler Tibbits both scored 10 points and Alyssa Paige netted nine.
Woodgrove and Loudoun County - who split four meetings during the 2011-2012 season - will play again Feb. 8 at Loudoun County.
“We are first in the district right now,” Brooke Basinger said. “We are trying to get that ring. That’s our goal.”
Woodgrove 58, Loudoun County 49
LC: Phillips 15, Knox 10, Tibbits 10, Paige 9, Gillis 2, Szoka 2, Gianelos 1
W: Purnell 21, Brooke Basinger 14, Lynch 10, Brittany Basinger 4, Buxton 4, Fagan 4, Lorinchak 1
Halftime: Loudoun County, 24-23
3-pointers: LC 4 (Knox 2, Phillips, Tibbits); W 5 (Brooke Basinger 2, Fagan, Lynch, Purnell)
Free throws: LC (17 of 23); W (3 of 17)
-All photos by Carl Lukat
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