The high-school basketball season began in full last week for Arlington varsity teams, highlighted by convincing opening victories by the Washington-Liberty Generals and Bishop O’Connell Knights boys squads, the winningest county teams last season, and a 2-0 record by the O’Connell girls.
The O’Connell girls opened with a 58-43 win at a tournament in Dallas, with Kiera Scott scoring 20 points, Jaylen Manning 11 and Daniya Brown 10.. Then the Knights won their second game in that competition by a 57-42 score.
The Washington-Liberty boys blew out the visiting Chantilly Chargers, 76-35, in Arlington, taking an early lead and never letting up. Returning starters Brian Weiser, James McIntrye and Elijah Hughes were among the top scorers.
In addition to the victory, W-L head a pregame ceremony with many in attendance as a tribute to former teammate Braylon Meade, a senior on the squad who died last month when he was the victim of a drunk driving accident. The under-age driver of the other vehicle has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and involuntary manslaughter.
Team members and spectators wore T-shirts and bracelets that included Meade’s uniform number 22 and his name. Players had patches on their uniform tops with Meade’s initials. His uniform jersey was fitted on an empty chair on the W-L bench next to head coach Bobby Dobson.
The O’Connell boys built a big first-half lead to defeat Fairfax Christian, 80-64, in their first game.
* The Yorktown Patriots boys team opened play with a 50-48 road victory against the Centreville Wildcats. Liam Vitters made the game-winning running hook shot off an inbounds pass that began with only a second to play. Just seconds earlier his made a jump shot to tie the score at 48.
Following a turnover, Yorktown regained possession, had a shot blocked that went out of bounds, then the Patriot called timeout to set up the game-winning shot.
Ben Coulam led Yorktown in scoring with 13 points and Kieran Upadhyaya scored 10.
Yorktown coach Joe Reed said his team is playing “more of a hybrid” approach between its uptempo, full-court pressing stye of the past few seasons to a more controlled attack at times, like against Centreville.
“We are 50-50 as far as winning games this season, so we have to be 51 percent and we were against Centreville,” Reed said. “That was big for us to start with a win like that. We don’t have the depth we’ve had like in past seasons, so we are still finding our way right now.”
* The Wakefield Warriors boys team (1-1) opened its season with a 69-49 home loss to Colonial Forge, followed by a 72-57 road victory over the Chantilly Chargers.
Wakefield trailed Chantilly 30-25 at halftime, then outscored the Chargers by 20 in the second half.
Senior forward Seth Langford scored 27, junior guard Kobe Davis had 15 and Ricardo Snyder 11 to lead Wakefield.
Wakefield will be hosting its 19th annual eight-team George Long Holiday Hoops Tournament Dec. 27-29.
Including Wakefield, the other teams participating will be Arlington’s Washington-Liberty, St. Francis from Georgia, Green Run from the Tidewater area, Forest Park from Prince William County and from Fairfax County defending champion Annandale, South County and West Springfield.
* In girls action last week, Yorktown lost to Centreville, 63-42, in its opener then routed Annandale in its second game.
The Wakefield and Washington-Liberty girls both won their first games then lost the second. Wakefield defeated National Cathedral, 41-19, and W-L downed Chantilly, 47-39. In their second games, W-L lost to Thomas Jefferson, 49-39, and Wakefield fell to Chantilly, 62-34.