Mistakes, sloppy play and mental errors are expected in first games. Bobby Dobson accepts all of that.
But what puzzled the longtime head coach of the Washington-Liberty Generals in his boys basketball team’s opening 60-46 victory over the Chantilly Chargers was how poorly his high-school squad shot at times. That was something Dobson wasn’t expecting, because W-L had been shooting well in practices and scrimmages.
Against Chantilly, the Generals shot just 45 percent from the foul line and missed too many good and open looks from the floor.
“At times in the game I thought we did some good stuff, but we didn’t make some shots we need to make, and we have to shoot free throws better than that,” Dobson said. “We have some potential this season and we have some good players. But we have to play.”
With 10 returning players from last season’s team that lost to champion Centreville in the region-tournament quarterfinals, the Generals are considered a Liberty District and region contender this winter. The season before in 2019, Washington-Liberty finished 16-12, second in the region and played in the Class 6 state tourney.
Against Chantilly in this winter’s opener, the Generals took control early with an 11-0 lead, were in front 27-17 at halftime and up 42-21 at one point in the second half.
Junior forward Elijah Hughes had 18 points for W-L, junior Brian Weiser scored nine and senior Jack Kimbrell eight.
All three were top players last season for Washington-Liberty. Other returners are Faris Weber, James McIntyre, Matthew Evangelista, Sam Kast, Andrew Lynch and starting point guard Jakhi Beale.
“A lot of guys played in the first game,” Dobson said. “Our players will have to find their roles and how they can contribute. We need to share and move the ball.”
Washington-Liberty’s second game was scheduled against 2020 state co-champion South County, a team considered a top contender again in 2021-22.
“That will be a good measuring stick for us,” Dobson said.
NOTE: Dobson has been Washington-Liberty’s head coach since the 1993-94 season and has more than 300 career wins. He is the longest tenured head coach at one school in the 6D North Region. The coach said he still gets as excited for a season, if not more, than his first year. “I was really nervous before our first game [against Chantilly],” Dobson said. “I wasn’t nervous about winning or losing, but how we would play.”