Four days after pulling off a rare Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tournament sweep, Paul VI’s basketball juggernaut picked up more steam with triumphs at the state level last Saturday. The boys team took down previously unbeaten Cape Henry, 64-56, to claim the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I title, while the girls blew past St. Anne’s-Belfield, 62-32, to close the season with their eight consecutive VISAA title.
Junior guard Kevin Dorsey racked up 17 points to lead the Panthers to victory in Petersburg, Va. Paul VI jumped ahead 24-11 by the end of the first quarter but saw its lead cut to four before Marcus Derrickson knocked down a crucial three-pointer with about five minutes remaining. Cape Henry (26-1) fought back but couldn’t overcome the Panthers’ steady free-throw shooting down the stretch.
Paul VI (28-6) followed Tuesday’s WCAC championship victory over DeMatha with a 62-44 win over Potomac School the next day. They cruised past O’Connell, 52-38, two days later, their first win against their WCAC rivals in four tries. The Panthers will close the season with an appearance in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament, which begins next Thursday.
Ariana Freeman, the WCAC Player of the Year, scored a game-high 17 points to push the Lady Panthers to their eighth straight state title Saturday in Charlottesville. Paul VI (29-5) limited St. Anne’s-Belfield to just 10 points in the first half, part of a dominant three-game effort that saw them outscore tournament opponents by an average margin of 28.5. The Panthers’ 16-game win streak capped their second straight season with 29 wins, the most of any team in the DMV.