Much is at stake for Central’s girls basketball team tonight.
The fourth-seeded Falcons open Bull Run District tournament quarterfinal action hosting fifth-seeded Clarke County at 7 p.m. The winner advances to the semifinals, while the loser’s season comes to an end.
Clarke County beat Central twice this season, 64-38 on Jan. 4 and 70-68 on Jan. 22. Central coach Bryan Scott said he hopes his team can turn things around against the Eagles.
“I know last time we played them it was a barn-burner,” Scott said. “And the most points we’ve put up in one game. I’m just hoping that we can regroup and come back strong.”
The Falcons (10-12) are coming off a tough loss on Tuesday against second-seeded Madison County, in which they scored only 4 points in the fourth period of a 33-29 loss.
Scott said he’s looking forward to the tournament, which should be wide open.
“I’m excited for it,” he said. “When you start postseason play, you got to step up your game and take it to the next level.”
Seeding for regionals is determined by the Bull Run District tournament with four teams advancing to the Region 2B tournament. There are only five Class 2 teams in the Bull Run District as Rappahannock County is a Class 1 school.
Third-seeded Strasburg has already secured a Region 2B berth and will host No. 6 seed Rappahannock County at 6 tonight. The Rams beat the Panthers 47-22 on Tuesday in their regular-season finale. However, the Rams lost to the Panthers on Jan. 18, 50-45.
Strasburg (16-6) has won five straight games, and coach Darin Jenkins said he feels like the team is playing its best basketball entering the district tourney.
“There’s a lot of confidence in the locker room,” Jenkins said. “There’s a lot more excitement in the locker room now than there was all season. There’s a lot more trust now in the locker room than it was at the beginning of the season. And we’re playing a lot better than we were. So I think our shot is as good as anybody.”
Top-seeded George Mason and second-seeded Madison County have byes in the six-team tourney. George Mason has two district losses, one to Central and one to Strasburg.
Jenkins said he expects the tourney to be just like it’s been all season — anybody can beat anyone on a given night.
“George Mason seemed to be at the top from the start to the finish,” Jenkins said. “But after George Mason, it just shuffled every week. And I think that’s what we’re in store for when it comes to the tournament. I think on any given night any team can beat anybody. And that’s what’s going to make it fun.”
Sherando (9-12) will start Class 4 Northwestern District play on Tuesday with quarterfinal action.
Warriors’ coach Mike Marsh said his team likely will be the No. 4 seed, but could be the No. 3 seed. Sherando closes out its regular season tonight with a key game at Handley.
Marsh said he feels like his young team is playing some of its best basketball at the end of the season.
“I hope we continue to improve and play well,” Marsh said. “And if we do, we’ll be a solid contender. There’s no way to say we’re even close to a favorite. But we’re hoping we can go and play as well as we can, and right now we’re getting closer to that.”
Only two teams advance from the Class 4 Northwestern District to the Region 4C tournament. Defending Class 4 state champion Millbrook has one of those spots already locked up by winning the regular season crown. The other spot will come from the tourney.
Marsh said he believes James Wood, Handley and Sherando all have a shot at getting the second regional spot. He said if the Warriors could get the No. 3 seed, it would be big, to be on the opposite side of the bracket from Millbrook.
“It’s going to be an exciting tournament,” Marsh said. “Millbrook I’m sure is the favorite, of course. But I think the other three teams, I think James Wood, Handley and I think even now us, maybe a little more equal. Now it’s just matter of who can get to that (tournament final) game, and who’s playing well right now.”
Stonewall Jackson (1-20) will not be in the Shenandoah District tournament. The Generals finished ninth in the district, and only the Top 8 teams make it into the tourney. However, the Generals will play in the Region 1B tournament quarterfinals at top-seeded Riverheads at 6 p.m. Feb. 16
Warren County (1-15) and Skyline (10-8) finish their regular seasons on Tuesday. The Class 3 Northwestern District does not have a tournament. The Region 3B tournament starts on Feb. 15.