The Madison Warhawks were an even split in region tournament championship basketball games Feb. 12.
The girls team won the 6D North Region high-school title over the host South Lakes Seahawks, 56-35, while at the same time the boys lost in the final to the host and defending champion Centreville Wildcats, 50-42.
For the Madison girls (14-1), the region title was the squad’s eighth in program history, and second since 2019. Madison was 3-0 in this season’s tournament, with lopsided victories by similar scores, allowing just 34.3 points in those triumphs.
“We played together and smart,” Madison coach Kirsten Stone said about the tournament performance. “This is a very focused team and they work hard together and work to get good shots.”
The Warhawks weren’t permitted to cut down the nets in a traditional tournament victory celebration at South Lakes because of the pandemic protocols. However, they did so minutes later inside the Madison gym when the team returned to the school, with the song, “We are the Champions”, by Queen playing in the background.
“It’s always a big deal to win the region, and the players enjoy doing that,” Stone said.
In the win over South Lakes (12-5), Madison built a big lead early, as it did in all three region games, and was ahead 29-9 at halftime.
Grace Arnolie had 14 points and four steals for Madison; Katie Koshuta also scored 14; Amalia Makrigiorgos added 10; Sarah Links had five points and nine rebounds; Kiera Kohler had six rebounds, two blocks and two points; and Mia Chapman scored four.
Those players, in addition to Alayna Arnolie, were responsible for the bulk of the productivity in the other two region wins – 59-52 over Langley in the quarterfinals and 58-36 over Herndon in the semis. The Warhawks received a first-round bye.
See the Website at www.insidenova.com/sports/fairfax for information about those first two wins.
Next for Madison is the four-team Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state tournament. The Warhawks are the defending co-champions and expect to host a semifinal game at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 against the West Potomac Wolverines (12-1). If Madison wins, it shuold host either Cosby or Osbourn Park for the state final on Saturday, Feb. 20.
The Madison boys (11-6) were 3-1 in the region tourney, defeating Herndon, 67-59, in overtime, and McLean, 45-31, at home in the first two rounds, then the host South Lakes, 58-50, in the semifinals. See information about Madison’s first three region wins at www.insidenova.com/sports/fairfax.
In the final against Centreville (12-2), the game was close throughout, with the Wildcats leading at the end of the first three quarters. A 9-3 Centreville run in the fourth period gave the team the cushion it needed.
“We battled, stayed with it, competed and played well on defense,” Madison coach Kevin Koller said.
For Madison, Logan Spafford had 11 points and six rebounds in the region final. Bo Kuhblank scored 10 points and had three steals; Elijah Turner had nine points and two assists; Will Giery made two three-pointers off the bench and scored eight; and Colin Tuft had two points, four assists and two blocks while playing with a sprained ankle which limited his movement during the contest.
Region Player of the Year Chris Kuzemka had 17 points, five assists and two steals for Centreville, and Avery Ford had 11 points, seven rebounds and five blocks.
“There’s a reason Kuzemka was the region Player of the Year,” Roller said. “He made some big plays and made big shots.”
With many returners this season, Roller said his players quickly settled into their roles well, which led to a successful start and a winning and region-final season.
NOTES: The meeting between Madison and Centreville was the seventh in two seasons, with the Wildcats winning the last five . . . The Warhawks were playing in a region championship game for the third time in five years, winning the crown in 2016-17 and taking second the next season.
The Madison High School girls basketball team gathers with the region championship banner. (Photo from Madison)