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FairfaxSportsMadison girls win region basketball title

Madison girls win region basketball title

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It had been a while since the Madison Warhawks were significantly challenged in a nail-biting victory against a region opponent.

So the stiff opposition was OK and welcomed by the girls high-school basketball team, which enjoyed the experience, at least since the Warhawks won.

That tightly-contested clash was a 46-32 Madison win over the Langley Saxons the night of Feb. 25 at South Lakes High School in the 6D North Region tournament-championship game. The score was tied at 22 at halftime, with Langley leading by two and three points a couple of times in the third period.

The Warhawks (24-2) took the lead for good at 32-30 in the third on a steal and layup by Grace Arnolie. In the meantime, Madison was tightening and extending its defense, hoping to shutdown Langley’s three-point shooters.


The strategy worked. Langley did not score in the fourth quarter, missing all six of its shots, of which five were three-pointers. Through the first three periods, the Saxons (18-5) made six threes, helping them rally from an 18-10 deficit to eventually take a couple of leads.

The region title was Madison’s second in a row, third in four seasons and ninth in program history, as the Warhawks upped their winning streak to 16 this winter.

Entering the region final, Madison’s closest game against a region opponent this season was 18 points. Most of the victories were much more lopsided, some by 50 and 60 points.

“Credit Langley. They are always well-coached and they were ready for us,” Madison coach Kirsten Stone said. “It took us a while to figure things out. We had to go with quicker post players on defense and use our depth to get out on their shooters and try to stop them. This game was a lot of fun.”

Arnolie said the Warhawks welcomed such a tough test.

“We needed a close game and a test like this. We had to get together and play hard as a team and step out on their shooters on defense,” said Arnolie, who had eight points, six rebounds and four steals. “Games with a high intensity level like this is what you look for as a competitor, and they made us play.”

Alayna Arnolie also had four steals for Madison with 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. The combined eight steals by the twin-sister guards accounted for more than half of Langley’s 14 turnovers.

Off the bench for Madison, Sara Link and Katie Koshuta each scored seven points and had key steals, blocks and assists. Starting forward Kiera Kohler had eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks, and Mia Chapman had four points and three rebounds.

For Langley, Olivia Walke had 13 points and made two threes, Caitlyn Shumadine scored nine and made three threes, and point guard Annabeth Holsinger scored six with with two threes. Starting forward Keelin Byrne had two points and 10 rebounds and Raylin Harrell two points and three boards.

Next for each team is the Class 6 state tournament, in which Madison is the two-time defending champion. Langley last qualified for the state tournament in 2018 and finished second.

Madison was 3-0 in the region tourney, routing Herndon 85-34, in the first round and downing the McLean Highlanders, 53-33, in the semifinals.

Against Herndon, Grace Arnolie had 19 points and five steals, Alayna Arnolie added 17 points and seven steals, Kayla Dixon scored 10, Koshuta scored nine, Kohler had eight points and four blocks, Chapman had six points and three blocks, and Stella Gougoufkas scored five.

In the win over McLean (17-9), Grace and Alayna Arnolie each scored 13, with Grace having three assists, four rebounds and two steals, and Alayna five rebounds. They combined for five three-pointers. Koshuta made two threes and scored six, Chapman had six points and 10 rebounds, and Kohler scored five with 10 boards and two blocks.

McLean (17-10) was 1-1 in the region, defeating South Lakes, 47-40, in the first round as Mia Fitzgerald scored 15 with six rebounds and she made three three-pointers. Kara Bremser scored 12 for McLean with two threes, Vilte Kacerauskaite scored eight and had nine rebounds and three steals and Shushan Krikorian was a top scorer.

Langley was 2-1 in the region tourney, defeating Oakton, 41-36, in the first round, then Yorktown, 59-45, in the semifinals.

Shumadine scored 16 points (four three-pointers) and had eight rebounds against Oakton and Holsinger had 12 points, with Walke scoring seven.

In Langley’s win over Yorktown, the Saxons led 21-20 at halftime, then were ahead 41-31 after three periods and were in control the rest of the way. Walke had 28 points, Holsinger 13 and Shumadine 10.

Oakton finished the season with a 19-5 record.

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