Boys’ basketball: W.T. Woodson adjusts on the fly


When Doug Craig returned to school Friday following a four-day break due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and weather closures, the W.T. Woodson boys’ basketball coach was welcomed with the news that the basketball court was submerged under water due to a burst pipe.

Craig won’t know the extent of the damage and repair time until workers arrive on Tuesday, temporarily displacing a 12-3 Woodson team with four home games remaining and potentially more should it earn one of the top seeds in the Conference 7 and 6A North region playoffs.

“It happened some time Thursday night or Friday morning and people described it to me as a waterfall falling on the floor,” said Craig, who is searching for other options at nearby schools and colleges. “Hopefully it’s not as bad as we’re anticipating, but it certainly will put us in flux for the next week or so.”

Though it came under different circumstances, the Cavaliers also found themselves in transition to start the season after graduating four of their starters from last year’s Virginia AAA state semifinalist team. New faces abounded, including two talented transfers in junior guard Trey Johnson (Middleburg Academy) and sophomore Matt Ayoub (Paul VI).

As reigning Patriot District Player of the Year Eric Bowles worked to balance his increased offensive responsibilities while remaining the team’s facilitator and former reserves Andy Stynchula and Tyler Wilson adjusted to starting roles, the Cavaliers stumbled to a 1-2 start, albeit to ranked teams Herndon and Edison.

Since then, Woodson has found consistency and success through its defense, holding both Green Run and T.C. Williams to just 36 points during its current eight-game winning streak.

“Our defense is the best thing we do, and we’ve shown that lately,” said Bowles, who is averaging a team-high 14.2 points. “That’s helped all of us in our new roles. For me, last year, I ran the team and scored if I had to. But this year, I’ve had to still facilitate while looking for my shot more and playing longer. We’re not fully there yet but we’re on track to getting where we need to be as a team.”

A year ago, the Cavaliers hit their stride in the second half of the season, and they appear to be following that pattern again. Bowles stands as the facilitator and first scoring option. Ayoub is a solid shooter and second scoring punch. Stynchula serves as the stalwart in the post. Wilson and Johnson provide sparks with their up-tempo play, and senior Jimmy McLaughlin has emerged as a defensive force who typically guards the other team’s best player.

The collective approach has helped the Cavaliers surge to the top of the Conference 7 standings entering Monday’s road game against second-place Lake Braddock.

“Last year, the only reason we made the run we did was because of how we played together as a unit,” Craig said. “Everybody has gotten better and has improved from playing a tough early schedule and we’re starting to learn each other better. Hopefully we can be a tough out here in the postseason and recapture some of that magic from last year.”


Boys Basketball: Future Bright for Tuscarora with Young Backcourt

While the Tuscarora High School boys basketball team has gotten off to a slow start in its young history, especially compared to Loudoun's other second-year school Woodgrove which made the playoffs last year behind the play of high-scoring Brad Gilson, the Huskies are building a foundation and are improving each week.

While Tuscarora is just 1-12 after going 0-22 last year, they are playing teams close, falling to Park View, 93-82; Dominion, 63-58; Patriot, 63-59; and Briar Woods, 71-59. And the Huskies are young, young, young with sophomore guard Josh Middleton leading the team with 11.8 points per game and 14-year-old freshman shooting guard, A.J. Robinson, scoring 11.5. Another freshman, Trey Johnson, is a point guard and averages 9.2.

Johnson is part of a unique situation where he and his brother, senior Myles Johnson, are BOTH starting point guards -- with Myles a senior at Stone Bridge where he leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 12.2 points per game. While the brothers from Lansdowne dreamed of playing together for a year in high school, the new boundaries created when Tuscarora opened, left them at different schools this year. Myles scored a season-high 27 points against Park View and has 29 3-pointers on the year, while Trey put up 21 against Dominion. The two will not face each other as Tuscarora and Stone Bridge aren't scheduled to play this year. 


FEB. 27, 2012- NEWS 444.COM

Boy's Basketball Looks Forward to the Future

By: Jack Minchew

LEESBURG VA- Looking back on the 2011-2012 season, a skeptical and disillusioned fan might dismiss the Tuscarora boys basketball season as a total failure. They might lament the 3-21 record and the lack of a win at home after two years of play. They might worry if the Huskies will ever have a good team.

But perhaps if that woebegone fan was a little bit less skeptical and a little bit less dismissive, they would recognize the season for what it was: a year for building. This season saw Tuscarora’s first win ever, first district win, and first playoff win.  “We won more games than last year but still [weren’t] happy,” says Josh Middleton. “We’ll be good next year, though.” 

While this season may have not have answered all the questions about the Tuscarora men’s basketball program, it has shown that perhaps out of the ruins of a 3-21 season, a quality program could be emerging. Under the surface of a disappointing varsity record is an up-and coming JV team and a 17-2 freshman team. The three top scorers for the varsity team were all underclassmen, according to statistics from Allmetsports.com. “Everybody’s coming back,” says varsity Coach Justin Brown about next year. “A lot of the good teams in the district are old, and two of our best players are freshmen.

Sophomore Josh Middleton led the team with 12.9 points per game, closely followed by the two freshmen, A.J Robinson and Trey Johnson, with 12.1 and 8.6 points per game respectively. Robinson also led the team in 3 point shots, with 27 threes for the season. Middleton himself complimented the freshmen duo, saying, “A.J is a good shooter, and Trey can really get to the basket.”

The team also benefits from 6’2 sophomores John Boris and Spencer Hayes, along with junior Steve Welti. “Steve Welti is 6’8,” says Coach Brown with a chuckle. “No arguing with that.” Coach Brown has full faith in the future of the program, saying, “The future looks good, and we’re really excited.