Ashburn, Va. (January 23, 2017) — Guardplay. Coaches talk about it a lot, and even more as winter winds down and hoops season heats up. Guardplay. It’s about keeping in control, staying above frays, bringing up the ball, making the right calls and setting wheels in motion. Good guardplay, when it comes right down to it, makes for good basketball.
So – with smart, experienced, talented senior point guards running the respective offensive shows for the Eagles of Freedom High School and the Raiders of Loudoun County High School – we expect a veritable tutorial in proper guardplay.
Our instructors will be Emily Miller of County and Sydney Kim of Freedom, and our classroom will be Freedom’s gym in South Riding, where the Raiders come calling from Leesburg for a cross-county showdown on a Monday night.
Miller is a steady hand at the controls for Raiders head coach Derek Fisher. Bound to play collegiately for Davis & Elkins, she’s an assist artist with over 100 dishes on the current campaign, but also with the range to score nearly 10 points per outing.
Not that she needs much help, but Miller is made to look good by a versatile surrounding cast headlined by the steady on-court leadership of junior forward Julia Ng and the high-scoring junior Natalie Villaflor, Conference 21-B’s reigning Player Of The Year who’s exceeding a remarkable 26 points per game.
Kim is likewise college-bound, but to play soccer at Hamilton. She’s still adept with her hands, obviously, as she distributes to her own basket-makers: The post presence of sophomore forward Rose Burnham and the silky-smooth moves of lanky sophomore guard Jaelyn Batts, owner of a team-high 17 points per. Eagles head coach Teddy Whitney is pleased to see Kim back on court after taking last winter off.
We shan’t be short on intrigue tonight, folks. This here’s a legit rivalry, folks. Not because of proximity (it’s a 28-minute drive one to the other, and that’s without traffic) or affiliation (County’s part of Conference 21-B; Freedom’s in Conference 22), but because of quality (the Raiders are 15-2, 6-1 in-conf; the Eagles are 13-2, 5-0) and history (these two proud state-championship programs have staged some epic, memorable, even downright heated hardcourt battles over the past decade).
It’s the Eagles, victors in seven straight, matching up with the Raiders, whose 14-game win streak was broken by Park View last time out. It’s gonna be a good one, and it’s the clear choice for Viva Loudoun’s Hottest Hoops Of The Week. Follow along as we live-tweet @VivaLoudoun.
VivaLoudoun: We Live For Loudoun™
Written by Jason S Rufner
for Viva Loudoun Media Communications