Vienna: Koshuta-less Madison Snaps Langley's 14-Game Win Streak

Vienna: Koshuta-less Madison Snaps Langley's 14-Game Win Streak

Junior guard McWeeney helps Warhawks avenge loss to Saxons without injured star forward.

The Madison girls’ basketball team found itself in a six-point hole when Langley Saxons freshman Jordyn Callaghan buried a 3-pointer in the opening minute of Friday’s second half.

The Warhawks couldn’t turn to 6-foot-2 security blanket Kelly Koshuta, who was on the bench and out of uniform due to a knee injury. Instead, Madison’s supporting cast turned up the defensive pressure and snapped Langley’s 14-game win streak.

The Warhawks closed the third quarter on a 15-3 run and knocked down 7 of 8 free-throw attempts in the final minute to secure a 46-38 victory at Madison High School.

Langley led 21-19 at halftime and extended its advantage to 25-19 with an Ari Aulisi free throw and the Callaghan 3-pointer. Two minutes later, Meghan Torres scored Madison’s first points of the half, sparking a 15-3 run during the final 5 minutes, 37 seconds of the third quarter. The Warhawks forced seven Saxon turnovers in the period and took the lead for good when Alexis Hermes scored with 1:55 on the clock, giving Madison a 29-28 advantage.

Langley defeated Madison 36-33 on Jan. 13 and entered Friday’s contest with a 17-1 record.

“I think [Madison] played angry and they played with a chip on their shoulder,” Langley head coach Amanda Baker said. “They pushed us around and the game allowed for that physicality and we didn’t really respond with the same level of intensity.”

Madison got off to a strong start, jumping out to a 12-3 lead, but Langley junior Paige Galiani would shoot the Saxons back into the game. Galiani knocked down four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first half, helping Langley to a halftime lead.

Madison head coach Kirsten Stone assigned junior Aidan McWeeney to guard Galiani in the second half. McWeeney helped limit Galiani to five points in the final 16 minutes. Galiani finished with 19 points and five 3-pointers.

“Aidan was face-guarding me really hard in the second half,” Galiani said. “… I couldn’t get a shot off at all.”

McWeeney scored a team-high 14 points to go with her stellar defensive effort.

“I think Aidan has always been a big player, it’s just that she’s always behind someone else’s shadow,” Stone said. “Her freshman year, she [played with Megan] LeDuc, and last year [with Katie] Kerrigan. I think that Aidan is just coming into her own and taking leadership.”

Senior guard Jana Tremba scored 10 points for Madison and sophomore Megan Miskell finished with six.

Koshuta, a senior forward who signed with Virginia Tech, said she tweaked her right knee in a recent practice but will return to action next week, though Stone said that is an optimistic prediction.

Koshuta, who is ranked by as the No. 32 recruit in the nation for the class of 2015, suffered a torn ACL in her left knee in July of 2012, causing her to sit out her entire sophomore season.

“Obviously, without her it’s a big loss, but the key to our team is playing together all the time,” McWeeney said. “We practice with and without Kelly … [and] I think just playing together was our main idea.”

How much does the game plan change with Koshuta on the bench?

“Kelly is an added bonus, is our hope,” Stone said. “It’s hard when Kelly gets in because then the younger kids tend to [rely on her], and Kelly is not like that. She is a team player. Hopefully this is helping us get better.”

With Koshuta on the bench, Madison’s perimeter players stepped up. The Warhawks knocked down five 3-pointers, and McWeeney made a key short jumper with 4:55 left in the fourth quarter, giving Madison a 39-33 lead.

“They have plenty of good guards on the team,” Galiani said. “… The guards are really confident without [Koshuta]. We weren’t’ ready for that. … We haven’t played good shooting teams that often.”

Baker also praised the Madison guards.

“I think their guards probably got a lot of confidence going into the postseason,” the Langley coach said. “They were really fast --- they’re fast with Kelly --- but they were able to pressure us constantly. They didn’t have the knowledge of a shot blocker behind them, so they were so much more in our stuff and so much more ready to stop individual players. Overall, I was really impressed with their defensive effort.”

Langley senior Lauren Meyer finished with seven points.

Madison (15-5) will travel to face McLean at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Langley (17-2) will travel to face South Lakes at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.