It was Hot Hoops galore on a mid-week Battle Of The ‘Burn extravaganza at Broad Run, the Spartans’ home off Ashburn Road. The Stone Bridge Bulldogs bested their rivals from about a mile, winning the girls’ game by a couple strides before surviving the boys’ tilt by a nose.
Girls’ final score –
Stone Bridge Bulldogs (9-10, 3-3) 14 13 15 16 = 58
Broad Run Spartans (1-20, 0-6) 14 8 10 18 = 50
Stone Bridge scorers –
Points: Emma Harwood 24, Anna LeMaster 15, Chloe Madgwick 14, Madison Jolly 2, Allison Kreyer 2, Lauren Hines 1
Three-pointers: Harwood 5, LeMaster 2, Madgwick 2
Free throws: Madgwick 4-4, Harwood 3-3, LeMaster 3-4, Jolly 2-2, Hines 1-2, Katana Alston 0-1
Broad Run scorers –
Points: Jade Roberts 20, Chyna Roberts 17, Bridget O’Brien 5, Kelly O’Brien 3, Makayla Adams 2, Awo Mohamed 2, Micaela Elhafdi 1
Three-pointers: B. O’Brien 1, K. O’Brien 1
Free throws: J. Roberts 10-11, C. Roberts 2-5, Elhafdi 1-2
Boys’ final score –
Stone Bridge Bulldogs (8-11, 3-3) 8 22 18 18 = 66
Broad Run Spartans (11-9, 4-2) 13 13 16 22 = 64
Stone Bridge scorers –
Points: Evan Buckley 21, Ben Kling 19, James DiLuigi 10, Mark Williams 10, Tyler Warden 6
Three-pointers: Buckley 3, Kling 3, DiLuigi 2, Warden 2
Free throws: Williams 4-4, Kling 4-8, Buckley 2-2
Broad Run scorers –
Points: Anthony Cooper 22, Willie Jordan 12, Bryson Dolly 9, Spencer Payne 8, Isaac Dove 4, Scott Collins 3, Patrick Smedley 3, Hunter Hauser 2, Alex Huff 1
Three-pointers: Collins 1, Cooper 1, Payne 1, Smedley 1
Free throws: Cooper 5-5, Payne 3-4, Dove 2-4, Jordan 2-8, Dolly 1-1, Huff 1-2
Broad Run High School, Ashburn, Va. (January 31, 2017) — You could tell it was going to be an absolutely fantastic, fun-filled basketball-style Battle Of The Burn even before the main attractions took the court, providing us a Tuesday night edition of Viva Loudoun’s Hottest Hoops Of The Week.
You could tell the crowd was going to be all into it, the way they were into the freshman boys’ game, full enough to crowd the player “benches” in the auxiliary gym.
You could tell the games were going to be exciting, the way the crowd in the main gym, gathering strong in both maroon and blue to see the girls’ varsity and boys’ game to follow, whooped and hollered enthusiastically as the guys’ JV game was decided in ultimate clutch moments.
You could tell the play was going to be quality, the way sophomore guard Ethan Roa coolly drilled a baseline three-ball with 30 seconds left in that JV game, lifting the home Spartans of Broad Run High School to victory over their Ashburn neighbors and athletic rivals the Bulldogs of Stone Bridge High School.
You could tell the schools had some of their best feet forward, the way student Claire Dumouchelle delivered a masterful rendition of the national anthem to raucous applause.
And the way the night ended – with the Spartans nearly pulling off a monumental comeback, just short on a would-be game-winning buzzer-beater despite trailing the Bulldogs by 10 with less than 60 seconds left – you could tell it’d been a tremendous chapter of competitive action in what’s arguably Eastern Loudoun’s closest interscholastic rivalry now.
“I moved here from Cincinnati, but pretty much the minute I got here I learned about this rivalry,” said Kyle Linder, Stone Bridge’s third-year girls’ hoops coach. “We talked about it in practice. You throw records out for this game. Anybody can win.”
Broad Run’s head boys’ coach John Costello noted the obvious: “It’s always special. They’re right across the street.”
As a din of sound cascaded around him, sophomore guard Evan Buckley made instrumental plays down the stretch in the Bulldog boys’ victory.
“When we play Broad Run, it’s the biggest game, everybody’s into it,” Buckley said. “Big crowd, hostile environment, everybody’s ready to go from tip-off.”
For the record, the Spartans and Bulldogs split both sets of JV and freshman showdowns: Broad Run won freshman girls and JV boys while Stone Bridge took freshman boys and JV girls. (And you saw up there that the Bulldogs nipped the Spartans in both of the varsities.)
The enthusiasm battle between the two student sections? Even. An excellent #BattleOfTheBurn we got to live-tweet @VivaLoudoun. Here’s how they each went down (in a tad more than 140 characters):
Bulldog girls run past Spartans
The theme of the game was established early on, when Stone Bridge senior guard Emma Harwood expertly stepped into a three-pointer for a 7-4 lead for the visitors…and again a moment later, when the Bulldogs’ Chloe Madgwick made it 10-7 by leaning into a swished long ball of her own.
That theme of key hold-off threes by the Bulldogs comes up later in our story.
The Spartans raced back into it, tying it at the first quarter’s buzzer on Bridget O’Brien‘s jumper off the glass. What started as a track meet remained one, sneakers squeaking up and down the floor. The game’s speed gave both teams chances inside, but only Stone Bridge regularly converted.
The Bulldogs’ third-year head coach wasn’t comfortable, though.
“We know they’re better than a one-win team. They’re talented, they’re scrappy,” said Linder of Broad Run. “We knew they were going to make a run.”
A five-point advantage at halftime was doubled by the fourth, as Harwood got hot from beyond the arc. But Broad Run came up with an 8-0 run, ignited by the slashing style of sophomore guard Jade Roberts, pulling the home team within two. Anybody’s game with a few minutes to go.
“I’m super-excited that we were able to come back and get that close,” said Broad Run’s first-year head coach Chazzy Morris. “I just want them to focus on capitalizing when we get in those situations.”
Roberts propelled the Spartans after halftime, while older sister Chyna Roberts anchored Broad Run’s offense before intermission.
“Chyna definitely helped us out in the first half with those 10 points,” pointed out Morris. “Then her sister took over on the free-throw line, doing what we told her to do at halftime.”
But the Spartans would get no closer. A turned-up Stone Bridge defense led to four quick points, then Madgwick fed Harwood for a dagger three. When Broad Run senior guard Kelly O’Brien entered the fray with a three in response, Harwood just hit another one.
“I think it was our composure,” Linder postulated. “It’s a rivalry game, it’s on the road, it’s a bigger crowd than we normally have. I think maintaining our poise was our biggest asset.”
In the game’s waning moments Harwood, looking to play collegiately next year, took it to the hole for a hard hoop and some harm, to the delight of the Bulldog fans, her teammates and herself.
“It was a refusal to lose this game. She hit the big shots to win it,” Linder said.
This season was the first in Harwood’s four varsity campaigns in which her Bulldogs defeated the Spartans twice.
“This being such a big rivalry, this is such a big deal for us,” said Harwood, Stone Bridge’s only senior.
It was Think Pink Night at Broad Run, with the players and many spectators donning pink t-shirts proclaiming Lights On, Fight’s On in the quest to raise awareness of and funds for breast cancer.
It was a good game.
It was a prelude to…
A near-miracle for Broad Run
After this one, all either head coach could think was, What if.
Corey Stitzel, the winning coach, could wax philosophic, while his opposite number could only look wistful.
“We made one more play tonight than we have in other games,” said Stitzel, noting that his Bulldogs have had the lead in the fourth quarter in 16 of their 19 contests. “We got out of here with a really really really hard-fought victory.”
Stitzel is in his second season guiding the Bulldogs after stints as an assistant in the major college ranks.
“That’s why you’re asking me questions about pulling off a victory,” he went on, “instead of asking me what it was like to lose a tough one.”
Broad Run’s veteran helmsman was enduring that close-loss feeling.
“It would’ve been nice. If that shot went in, the place would’ve gone nuts,” Costello said. “There’s no such thing as a good loss, but I’m proud of how our guys fought back. It shows resiliency to fight to the very last second, and that’ll help us later on.”
The Spartans trailed 64-54 with precisely one minute on the clock. A three and a two made that 64-59 with 36 ticks. When Anthony Cooper smoothly sank three free throws, it was 66-64 with under 10 to go. A Stone Bridge turnover under the very basket Broad Run was aiming for only amped up the crowd even more.
With 1.4 seconds remaining, the in-bounds pass came to senior guard Bryson Dolly. He caught it, jumped up and back, and released. The orange ball sailed directly at the rim but fell just short. The agony of defeat for one rival; the joy of victory for the other.
Importantly, as Costello pointed out, the result hands Broad Run a second conference loss to drop them behind conference leader Potomac Falls.
His Spartans started off strong, erasing Stone Bridge’s early five-point lead with an 11-0 run keyed by Spencer Payne‘s three and Isaac Dove‘s emphatically blocked shot. Broad Run was up 13-8 after one.
That’s when it began to rain threes from the rafters. Stone Bridge junior guard James DiLuigi hit one. Broad Run sophomore forward Patrick Smedley hit one, tying the game for the last time at 22-22. Buckley answered by hitting one, then Ben Kling followed suit by hitting one of his own.
The sides combined for 35 points in the stanza, 22 of them to the Bulldogs.
With the Spartans playing catch-up, Dove electrified the hometown crowd with a two-hand monster slam off a layup miss. But Buckley turned that momentum back around with a long ball, so the Bulldog faithful could make noise too.
Early in the fourth, Cooper swirled in a three-ball to bring the Spartans within five, but that’s when a freshman rose up for the Bulldogs.
Tyler Warden connected on one triple for his first points of the game, then on the next possession he did the same thing, ballooning the visitors’ lead to nine.
Moments later, the wild final minute began.
“We had that freshman hit two big threes, then Evan’s a sophomore and we have a bunch of juniors,” Stitzel listed. “I thought they kept their composure and poise…. We needed this one badly.”
It was Senior Night for Broad Run’s boys’ team. Six Spartan players and five managers had their careers recognized in a pre-game ceremony.
It was an awesome edition to the Battle Of The ‘Burn rivalry, worthy of being Viva Loudoun’s Hottest Hoops Of The Week.
(Ed. note: In the preview piece of the boys’ game, we reported Broad Run’s record as 9-10. In fact, the Spartans’ record entering the Stone Bridge game was 11-8. Viva Loudoun and Jason S Rufner regret the error.)
VivaLoudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Jason S Rufner
for Viva Loudoun Media Communications