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Loudoun Valley pulls away from Monticello in second half

The Loudoun Valley Vikings defeated Monticello, 70-49, in the Region II Division 3 boys semifinals Thursday night. The Vikings will host Handley in the region title game Saturday night.—Times-Mirror File Photo/Beverly Denny
The Loudoun Valley High School boys basketball team inflated a four-point halftime lead into a 70-49 romp over visiting Monticello in their Region II Division 3 semifinal game Feb. 21.

The win earned the Vikings a second straight state tournament trip and another home game. No. 3 seed Valley will host No. 4 Handley Saturday at 7 p.m. in the regional finals. Both teams advance to states with the winner Saturday earning a state quarterfinal date close to home (most likely in Fairfax County) and the loser hitting the road for a Region I site.

The Vikings led by as many as 10 points in the first half Thursday, but an 8-0 spurt from the Mustangs narrowed the gap at intermission - spurring Valley to up the energy level for the second half.

"Energy and effort. The coaches told us we need energy and effort the whole game, and we finally had that in the second half," said senior guard Josh Grimard, who scored 16 points on the night.

Fellow senior Jovon Miller notched a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

"I try to go after every rebound," said the 6-foot-5 Miller, who often manned the middle against the smaller Mustangs. "I just want to give our team another possession every time."

Miller was among several Vikings who confidently canned free throws down the stretch to provide Valley its ultimate cushion. Valley drilled all 16 second-half attempts from the charity stripe. This came after going just 13 of 23 from the line in the Dulles District title game win over Potomac Falls.

Despite sitting for much of the second quarter with two fouls, Valley's Paul Rowley led both sides with 23 points. The 6-foot-7 junior punctuated the contest with a pair of emphatic dunks in the closing minutes.

Each of the exclamation-point throwdowns brought Valley's raucous "Jungle" student section to delirium.

"We love our fans supporting us. They've been there all through the season, whether ups or downs, they're always behind us," Miller said.

Vikings coach Chad Dawson, in his 10th season at Valley, expressed his contentment with the team effort exhibited, which included eight key points contributed by freshman Trey McDyre and several offensive fouls forced against Monticello's athletic ballhandlers.

"They're special kids, and we tell them to enjoy having [the opposition's] fourth- or fifth-best defender on you when those other guys are drawing the attention," said Dawson, alluding to his "big three" of Rowley, Grimard and Miller. "Our kids share the ball really well. That's one of our strengths. They don't care who scores. They just want to win."

Last year Valley lost in the regional finals to rival Potomac Falls and then lost a state quarterfinal game on the road. The veteran Viking team has expectations of going further this year.

"We just got the kids their t-shirts, and they put the quote on the back: 'Unfinished Business'," Dawson said. "I think that speaks a lot." The Valley faithful would seem to agree. In the fourth quarter, as the Vikings were separating from their opponents on the scoreboard, the "Jungle" rose up to chant: "States...states...states...."

Loudoun Valley 70, Monticello 49

LV: Rowley 23, Grimard 16, Miller 15, Kiani 8, McDyre 8

M: Shelton 16, Mosley 14, Banks 7, Terry 7, Gray 3, McNair 2

Half: Loudoun Valley 22, Monticello 18

3-pointers: LV 3 (Grimard 2, Rowley); M 3 (Shelton 2, Terry)

Free throws: LV (17 of 20); M (8 of 13)


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