football

Patriot District Playoff Preview

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"Verdana","sans-serif"'>VirginiaPreps.com is excited continue its AAA
Basketball Playoff Coverage. We're your
stop for Recaps, Postgame Audios, Previews, Blogs and much, much more
throughout the postseason all the way to the State Final at VCU's Siegel Center
in March.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>We now break down the Patriot District Tournament,
where three teams will join W.T. Woodson in the Northern Region playoffs.
style=> Our predictions can be seen below; over the
past two years we've nailed 78% of our projections.
style=> Find out how we do by staying tuned to the site
through the entire playoffs!

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"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Few teams in the state at the Group AAA level have as
good as résumé as the W.T. Woodson Cavaliers under the direction of Patriot
District Coach of the Year Doug Craig.
style=> Woodson won the Patriot regular season title
for the second year in a row, going 26-2 over their last 28 league games in a
district that has long been dominated by T.C. Williams.
style=> Woodson swept them and their only in-league
trip up came against West Potomac.
Outside of the district, they've lost just two other games to Liberty
District regular season Champ Langley and private school power Bishop O'Connell
out of Arlington.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Woodson had an impressive showing at the Ronald Curry
Classic, becoming the first non-Eastern Region team to win the tourney.
style=> Sophomore point guard
normal'>Eric Bowles (9.1PPG, 7APG) is
the straw that stirs the drink, getting everyone involved and his contributions
are invaluable, which is largely why he was named the Patriot District Player
of the Year. Six-foot-6 senior forward
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Tommy Stepka (14.3PPG,
43 3's) is an All-League performer who stretches the defense, while 6-foot-4
senior forward Peter Murray (11.4PPG)
was the MVP of the Curry Classic.
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Mike Hansler,
Andy Stynchula
and Stephen Muldoon are key role
players for the Cavaliers.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>For Annandale, this is a team that made it to the Group
AAA State Tournament quarterfinals just three seasons ago.
style=> Long gone are those standouts from that bunch
in D'Angelo Boyce, Karl Ziegler (Longwood) and Melvin
Robinson, but one of the few holdovers is senior guard
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Sanar
normal'> Shamdeen (18.6PPG, 84-103FT), a lethal
shooter with 50 three-point makes on the year.
Sophomore guard Austin Hall (10.1PPG)
will become their go-to guy after this season.
The Atoms did upset West Potomac in a game where they scored 35 points
in the fourth quarter, so if they get red hot from deep, they will cause
problems.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Pick:
style=> W.T. Woodson 67-51.
style=> This is a senior-heavy bunch for Woodson with
eight on the roster, but even beyond this year they are going to be in pretty
good shape with Stynchula back in the post as well as
two more years with Bowles at the point.
The way Woodson executes its stuff with back-cuts, moving without the
ball and playing a patient, smart and efficient brand of basketball is
beautiful to watch for the purists. For
others that want to see the flashy plays with the big-time jams and 1-on-1,
they may want to check someone else out.
When they play an up-tempo team with a great amount of athleticism and
quickness, it'll be a contrast in styles and interesting to see which prevails.

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"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Entering the district playoffs,
normal'>Brian Metress' Lake Braddock Bruins have
won six of their last eight, including a 66-62 double-overtime victory over
Patriot District rival T.C. Williams. In
that game, 6-foot-5 junior forward and First Team All-League performer
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Will Gregoritis (16.7PPG)
had his seventh 20-plus point game of the season.
normal'> On the year,
class=SpellE>Gregoritis has been to the foul line 151 times, and in
one-on-one situations he's one of the region's most challenging covers.
style=> Gregoritis isn't
just an effective offensive player; he was also chosen on the Patriot District's
All-Defensive Team. Scoring on him can be
just as tough as stopping him from scoring.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>A player who has really come into his own and
flourished for Lake Braddock is 6-foot-6 sophomore forward
normal'>Reagan Jones (11PPG), who burned Westfield for 29 points and
Annandale for 26. If Lake Braddock is to
get to the semifinals to clinch a regional berth and then hope to enhance their
seed for regionals, it's going to take Jones having a monster effort in one of
these tournament games. Second-year Head
Coach Kosa
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> So at Robert E. lee has gotten the
Lancers to make considerable strides this season with four league victories,
their most in a while.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Lee was once the laughingstock of the district and now
they are a #5 seed with an opportunity to go to regionals.
style=> Edging out Annandale in overtime and beating
South County were big steps in the right direction, but now the question
becomes are they good enough offensively to hang around until the very
end? No one on the team is averaging in
double-figures in points and they've been held under 50 in six of their last
seven games. Second Team All-District
performer R.J. Barnes (9PPG), a
5-foot-9 sophomore guard, has a promising future.
style=> Lake Braddock won both regular season
meetings, the ladder 51-42.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Pick:
style=> Lake Braddock 62-44.
style=> For Lee to have any shot whatsoever, they
need Barnes to be at the top of his game, but also get quality performances
from 6-foot-6 junior center Chris Hahn and 6-foot-1 senior Tai Dang, two of
their experienced upperclassmen on the roster.
Lake Braddock's defense can bottle up an offense prone to dry spells shooting,
which the Lancers are. All
class=SpellE>Metress' group has to do is sit back in the zone, not rush
shots on the offensive end and my guess is it'll be another large win for Lake
Braddock playing in their home gym.
Long-term for the Bruins, they must get a consistent third option to
help out Gregoritis and Jones.
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>

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"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Success at T.C. Williams in basketball is measured
through winning Championships. Two years
ago, the Titans won yet another Northern Region title, but last season they
were bounced by Westfield in the regional quarterfinals to end their streak of
dominating the region. It has been five
years since they last won the state title, and while this team doesn't look
like one that will be playing into March in the postseason,
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>Julian King's bunch always finds a way
to make things tricky for whoever they face whenever they play.
style=> These Titans come in having won six of its
past nine with a double-overtime loss at Lake Braddock as well as defeats
coming from Montrose Christian and Woodson, who they led at the half.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Six-foot-3 junior swingman
normal'>Malik Carney (10.6PPG) was a First Team All-Patriot District
performer and he's helped out offensively by the likes of 6-foot-3 senior
swingman Javon
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Wilson (10.3PPG), a Second Team
All-League performer, and two-sport athlete
normal'>Landon Moss (7.9PPG), who'll play his College Football at Coastal
Carolina. Other than Wilson, they really
don't have a bona-fide three-point threat.
Senior guard Dealo
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Robertson is only 5-foot-8, but has
been a pesky defender all year.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>West Springfield lost the fist meeting back in January
to T.C. Williams, 68-51. In the second
encounter in February, they couldn't solve their defense, getting routed
62-34. Three times in the last five
games they've scored less than 40, so they have to avoid that early funk that
often lingers with teams for an entire game.
Six-foot-3 sophomore forward John
Cronin (11.2PPG) is arguably West Springfield's best player, but if T.C.
takes him away, they are in big trouble.
Even though he's just 6-foot-2, senior
normal'>Matt Ahola (9.8PPG) has to be a beast on
the defensive boards and help limit the Titans to one shot.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Pick:
style=> T.C. Williams 64-42.
style=> As many Northern Region coaches will say,
until they are beaten, they'll be a factor.
The T.C. Williams Titans had a near identical season a year ago when
they were the #4 seed and went on to upset W.T. Woodson in the semifinals en
route to claiming Patriot District Tournament crown.
style=> There are stretches against top-notch teams
where the Titans have trouble manufacturing point, as shown in their loss to
Maury in the VirginiaPreps.com Classic.
If West Springfield can jump out to a fast start and make the Titans
play from behind, then they have a chance at making things interesting.
style=> The last time they met, the Spartans were the
ones offensively challenged with 24 points.

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"Verdana","sans-serif"'>If you are searching for a team that can make a
surprising long run in the Northern Region Tournament, one of the first
candidates that come to mind are the West Potomac Wolverines.
style=> They are the only Patriot District team to
date to knock off W.T. Woodson, which was 15-2 overall at the time when they
beat them. Additionally,
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'>David Houston's ball club also
outlasted Herndon in overtime. Their
head-scratching loss came against Annandale, which was 2-15 when the Atoms
upset them and scored 35 points in the fourth quarter alone.
style=> That loss aside, West Potomac has the
potential to make some noise.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>West Potomac's backcourt makes them go with 5-foot-7
senior guard Brandon Pressley (16.3PPG)
and 6-foot-1 sophomore guard Kwame
class=SpellE>Camon (14.6PPG).
Pressley hit for 40 in that loss to Annandale and has made 98-of-111
free-throws, a remarkably high percentage.
Camon scored 30 in the early season win over
Herndon. Five-foot-9 junior guard
class=SpellE>Demornay
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'> Pierson-El is their high-energy
defender to bother perimeter players for the other team.
style=> South County comes in reeling a bit with six
consecutive losses. The Stallions do
have two marquee players on its roster.

"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Selected All-Patriot District First Team, 6-foot-4
senior swingman Justin Hampton (19.6PPG)
is one of the best scorers in the region, having drilled 64 three-pointers on
the year. Hampton scored 36 vs.
Robinson, 35 against T.C. Williams and had 27 in the last meeting with West Potomac.
style=> Post player
normal'>Oren Burks (10.1PPG), who will play his College Football at
Vanderbilt, gives them a presence in the paint.
Then there's 6-foot-3 senior swingman
normal'>Nathan Williams (8PPG), who Coach
normal'>Wendell Johnson is hoping for a strong game from to have a shot
late in the fourth quarter at springing the upset.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Pick:
style=> West Potomac 73-66.
style=> For me personally, this is the most
intriguing first round matchup in the entire Patriot District Tournament.
style=> Going back to around October when I saw South
County at the CNU Team Camp, I thought this team could pull an upset because of
Hampton, though the lack of a true, dynamic point guard hurts them at
times. They come in reeling, but West
Potomac didn't let their big win over W.T. Woodson stick by losing to Annandale
their next time out. That's somewhat of
a case of inexperience and they should and likely will grow from that setback.
style=> Hampton has to play at a high level for South
County to win, but I wouldn't rule out an upset here completely.

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>
Patriot District Tournament Picks:

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Quarterfinals:
style=> W.T. Woodson over Annandale; Lake Braddock
over Robert E. Lee; T.C. Williams over West Springfield; West Potomac over
South County

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Semifinals:
style=> W.T. Woodson over Lake Braddock; T.C.
Williams over West Potomac

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Championship:
style=> W.T. Woodson over T.C. Williams

style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif"'>Tournament
MVP: W.T. Woodson's Tommy
class=SpellE>Stepka

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style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";text-decoration:none;text-underline:
none'>Matthew Hatfield
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'>
serves as AAA State Basketball Analyst for
href="http://www.virginiapreps.com">
style='font-size:12.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
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Network. Check out
href="http://www.twitter.com/hatfieldsports">
normal'>
text-decoration:none;text-underline:none'>Hatfield's Twitter page
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>
115%;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif"'> for more sports related info and
updates. To contact Matthew, please
e-mail
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none'>hatfieldsports2k4@yahoo.com
normal'>,
and don't forget to listen to him on the VirginiaPreps.com Hour every Saturday
at 11AM on
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and watch him on the
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