The Edison girls basketball team will take the confidence gained from Saturday’s Northern Region championship victory into a 5 p.m. tipoff Friday night in the state quarterfinal against Northwest Region runner-up Colonial Forge at Robinson Secondary. South Lakes, which fell to Edison in the region final, will follow Edison’s game with a state quarterfinal matchup against Northwest Region champion Stonewall Jackson. That contest is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. at Robinson.
South Lakes (23-5, 12-2 Liberty) will run into a red-hot Stonewall Jackson team riding a 15-game winning streak. The Raiders (23-3, 10-0 Cedar Run) cruised past Colonial Forge, 56-41, to claim their first Northwest Region title since 2007 last Saturday.
Stonewall Jackson, which hasn’t lost a district game in eight seasons, relies on a balanced scoring attack that features capable three-point shooting from its guards and a solid interior presence in the form of 6-foot-2 junior power forward Nicole Floyd. The matchup between Floyd and South Lakes’s 6-foot-4 center Abigail Rendle will be critical.
On the defensive end, second-year coach Diana Martinez has been helping the Raiders transition this year from a full-court press into more halfcourt sets.
“We’re aggressive on defense and we put pressure in the half-court situations,” Martinez said. “That’s been our primary focus, getting our kids to understand how to play man-to-man defense in the halfcourt, where you’re not over-extending your defense and pressuring all over the place.”
Starting guard Taylor Character (10.1 points/game) tweaked her knee in the second game of the regional tournament and has been sidelined ever since. Stonewall Jackson is hopeful for her return Friday.
Edison (24-4, 12-2 National), meanwhile, will go up against a Colonial Forge team coming off its first-ever appearance in a region title game, making Friday’s contest their first state tournament appearance.
Colonial Forge (25-3) has received much of its production this season on pressure defense that creates turnovers in the backcourt. Strong three-point shooting is a big part of their offense, headed largely by Zhane Barnes and Nichole Collins. Barnes and Collins hit three treys apiece in the Eagles’ losing effort in the final against Stonewall Jackson. The 56-41 setback produced Colonial Forge’s lowest point total of the season and saw them get out-rebounded 37-21.
Edison will need to watch out for Collins, who has been coming off the bench lately to lift the Eagles with a boost of energy. She scored all eight of her points in the second half in last week’s semifinal and tallied 13 of her 15 points in the second half against Stonewall Jackson in the final. In addition to Barnes and Collins, Edison will have to contend with the interior presence of 6-foot-1 junior forward Jahla Osbourne.
The Edison/Colonial Forge winner will face the winner of the quarterfinal game between Central Region champion Highland Springs and Eastern Region runner-up Lake Taylor at the Siegal Center in Richmond, Va., Monday. The South Lakes/Stonewall Jackson winner will get the winner of the matchup between Eastern Region champion Princess Anne and Central Region runner-up L.C. Bird.