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ArlingtonSportsO'Connell girls finish 1-1 in state hoop tourney

O’Connell girls finish 1-1 in state hoop tourney

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Despite a three-win season filled with turmoil and distractions, the Bishop O’Connell Knights were determined to put that all aside for at least one game as they attempted to extend their campaign.

That’s what happened.

Number 11-seed O’Connell played probably its best game of the winter March 1 to defeat the host, No. 6-seed and one-loss Potomac School Panthers, 56-53, in a first-round game of the Division I girls Virginia state high-school basketball tournament.

Behind inspired play, the Knights, just 4-19, took a 7-0 lead and never trailed to earn the upset victory.


“What we wanted to do was come here, stay positive and forget about all of our distractions. Just play basketball and make plays,” said O’Connell sophomore Keira Scott, who led the Knights with 21 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two deflections. “We were confident, we got the lead, then we just kept going and made it hard for them to stop us.”

Scott’s point total included three three-pointers and going 4 of 4 from the foul line.

Potomac School finished the season 22-2. The Panthers had won the Independent School League A Division tournament- championship game just two days earlier.

The Knights’ season included losing a key starter with a season-ending knee injury during the preseason, having multiple games canceled or rescheduled because of COVID, a head-coaching change in the final days of the regular season, and a couple of players leaving the team.

“There has been a lot, and we have tried to stay positive,” Scott said.

O’Connell led 12-10 at the end of the first period, was up 28-23 at halftime and 41-37 after three quarters. The score was tied three times in the fourth period, the last at 46 with 3:36 to play.

A three-point play, starting with a follow shot by Kaitlyn Smith with 1:56 left, gave the Knights the lead for good at 49-46. Smith scored nine points and had three rebounds off the bench.

O’Connell’s Ava Limcaoco (14 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals) took over from that point. She made a three-pointer followed by four free throws to account for the team’s final seven points.

Also for the Knights, Erin Garvert had five points, four assists and two steals; Jaylen Manning had two points and four rebounds off the bench; Ella Macatuno made a three-pointer; and Kristin Smith had eight rebounds and two points off the bench. Selah Park and Elizabeth Friesen also contributed off the bench.

O’Connell’s bench accounted for 13 points and 17 rebounds.

While Potomac School struggled from the foul line, making 8 of 18 shots, O’Connell was a perfect 9 of 9.

The Knights’ season ended the next night with a 61-22 road loss to No. 3 seed Bishop Ireton in the state tournament quarterfinals.

NOTE: Scott is the daughter of former Oakton High School girls basketball star Danielle Leyfert, who scored 1,239 points during her high-school career for the Cougars. She remains among the team’s top-10 all-time leading scorers.

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