The first time since the 2013-2014 season, the Seneca Valley Girls Basketball team has won 10 games. The Lady Eagles earned their tenth win against cross-town rivals as they held off a later charge by the Jaguars of Northwest on Friday, Feb. 8 to get a 45-43 victory on the road.
Seneca Valley held an 11 point, 39-28 lead at the end of the third quarter, but the Lady Jags roared back to score 15 in the fourth quarter to pressure the young Seneca team who managed to score six points in the fourth to hold off the Jags.
“We always seem to find a way to make it harder than it needs to be,” said first-year Seneca Valley Head Coach Ali Hashemzadeh. We were up 11 going into the fourth and ran into foul trouble, and our depth is always a concern. I love the heart of these girls; they never give up. They find a way to pull it out. We are on the upwards swing here heading into the playoffs.”
The Lady Eagles were led by senior Jessica Jones who scored 16 points, on three field goals and two three-pointers, while hitting four-of-six from the foul line. However, it was sophomore Bryana Barber whose seven second-quarter points allowed the Eagles to open up a 23-17 lead at halftime. Barber would finish with 14 points, on six field goals and two from the line. Fellow sophomore Brianna Dorsey contributed nine points to the win.
The Jags fourth-quarter push was led by freshman Valerie Mitchell and junior Jordan Herwood. Mitchell hit two three-balls, and Herwood added five points in the final stanza to bring the Lady Jags within a bucket of tying the game. Herwood finished the game with 10 points on one field goal, two three-balls, and shot two-for-two from the charity stripe. Northwest was led by freshman Danielle Morgan with 12 points, on three field goals, one bucket from behind the arc, and three foul shots.
The last time these two teams played each other the Lady Jags came away with a 53-47 victory back on December 14. Coach Hashemzadeh said the Lady Eagles mindset was the difference between the two meetings.
“The mentality of this team has gotten so much stronger since we first played this Northwest team in December,” he said. “Every week, I feel we are growing stronger. It comes down to belief — these girls are really starting to believe in themselves. We are young, but I like the direction we are headed in.”
The Eagles are a young team which starts three sophomores and two juniors, said Hashemzadah. “Our team is a very young team. Some of these experiences are the first time these girls are finding themselves in tight games. It is tough to learn on the fly. These sorts of close games, win or lose are building blocks. They are learning week by week, and getting better at handling the game situations.”
The Lady Eagles were unable to carry momentum into this week with tough games against three of the top teams in the County. The Eagles lost to 12-6 Quince Orchard on Monday and again to 15-3 Whitman on Tuesday, and will travel to play 14-4 Clarksburg on Friday night. Game time is 7:15 in Clarksburg.
“We had a goal this year of getting to 10 wins,” said Hashemzadeh, whose team is now 10-10. “We thought we could accomplish that a few weeks ago, but we let a game at Gaithersburg get away from us. We are hoping to be competitive in the last few games of the regular season.” The Lady Eagles will finish their regular season at home against 10-7 Richard Montgomery on Friday, Feb. 22.
The Lady Jags face another top team this week, as they traveled to play 14-4 Sherwood on Monday. The Warriors prevailed moving to 15-4 and dropping the Jaguars to 4-14 on the season. Northwest will host 5-11 Northwood on Friday, Feb. 15 at 7:15 and finish the regular season at 10-7 Walter Johnson on next Friday. Feb. 22.
Top: The Seneca Valley Screaming Eagles girls basketball team celebrate their 10th victory of the season, a 45-43 win over cross-town rival Northwest on Friday, Feb. 8.
Next: Seneca’s senior Jessica Jones (23) drives up the court. She finished with 16 points to lead the Lady Eagles.
Next: Northwest junior Jordan Herwood (1) had 10 points in Friday’s game.
Next: First-year Seneca Head Coach Ali Hashemzedah.
Photos by Billy Owens for Germantown Pulse