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Centreville Girls’ Basketball Reaches Region Semifinals

— Members of the Centreville girls’ basketball team seemed in relatively good spirits as they exited the locker room after a season-ending 58-53 loss to Edison in the Northern Region tournament semifinals on Feb. 22 at Robinson Secondary School.

After a season of accomplishments, the Wildcats weren’t hanging their heads.

Centreville finished the season 24-3, matched the deepest region tournament run in program history and captured its first district title since 1993.

“We had a great season,” junior all-region guard Jenna Green said. “Nobody in Centreville has really done what we’ve done, so we’ve just got to keep our heads up.”

The last Centreville team this successful was the 1992-93 group that won its first 26 games before losing by one point to Madison, 50-49, in the region semifinals. The Wildcats defeated Woodson for the Northern District championship that year and beat Oakton during the regular season, 102-31.

“We equaled the best that Centreville’s ever done. How can you be upset about that?”

— Centreville girls’ basketball coach Tom Watson

This year, Centreville lost its first meeting with Oakton 65-48, but won the next two, including beating the Cougars 44-41 on Feb. 15 to win the Concorde District title. Oakton had won the previous eight district championships.

After beating Fairfax 48-32 in the opening round of regionals on Feb. 18 and edging West Springfield 54-52 in the quarterfinals on Feb. 19, Centreville trailed Edison 30-20 at halftime of the semifinals. The Wildcats pulled to within one when an Ashley Brusick 3-pointer cut the Edison lead to 39-38 entering the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats were unable to take the lead. A 3-pointer by Elizabeth Richards cut the Edison lead to 56-53 late in the fourth, but Edison’s Megan Hendrick sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining.

“This year, we never gave up,” Green said. “We were down 10 points this game, we’ve been down 15 points against Oakton … and we just don’t give up. We’re relentless and that’s what’s great about this team and hopefully next year we can be the same way.”

Green led Centreville with 12 points in the semifinals. Ailyn Kelly and Caroline Wakefield each had nine points.

First-year head coach Tom Watson, who was named Concorde District Coach of the Year, said the Wildcats “oozed” team chemistry.

“When things get hard we have to stick together more,” senior Tori Collar said. “A lot of people tend to get frustrated and mad at each other — they turn on each other — but we know how to stay together and when things get rough, we know how to come together more instead of turn away from each other.”

Collar was named to the all-tournament team.

“We equaled the best that Centreville’s ever done,” Watson said. “How can you be upset about that?”