VISAA Tournament First Round Briefing

Photo by Bart Isley

2019 VISAA Division I Boys Basketball

First Round: No. 9 St. Anne’s-Belfield (16-10) at No. 8 Bishop Sullivan (18-9), 5:30 p.m.

The Basics: STAB played its way into the VISAA D1 tournament with a tremendous finish to the regular season and a Prep League semifinal win over Collegiate. They’ve got some quality wins under their belt including a senior night win over Trinity Episcopal. They’ll contend with a Bishop Sullivan squad that they beat back in December handily, winning 66-42. The bulk of the Crusaders losses have came during a tough middle of the season stretch including an overtime loss at Blue Ridge. They’ll contend with sharpshooter Brandon Cline who scored 20 in the TCIS title game, but STAB counters with an array of offensive weapons including senior point guard Dalton Taylor, versatile Nick Reese, freshman Justin Taylor and Malachi Poindexter who was on fire in the Prep League tournament and earned an All-Tournament team nod.

Key Matchup: STAB’s versatile lineup tries to contain Bishop Sullivan’s Walker. Walker, a 6-foot-5 guard and Sienna signee, is coming off an 18-point performance in that TCIS win over Norfolk Academy. The good news for the Saints is that they’ve got a ton of options to mark the senior, with Justin Taylor and Nick Reese leading the charge for a stable of players who can mark quick guards.

Who to Watch: STAB’s Mesiah Woods. Woods is absurdly quick, a skilled, reliable ball-handler. He has the ability to change the pace and put pressure on individual defenders that stands out even on a team with an arsenal of offensive weapons. He forced Trinity to make a lineup change with that attack mentality during the Prep League title game. Look for him to wreak some similar havoc against the Crusaders.

The Line: STAB by 3. The Saints’ sense of identity carries them here. They know who they are and they’re capable of earning a spot in the state quarters.



2019 VISAA Division II Girls Basketball Tournament

First Round: No. 12 Covenant (13-10) at No. 5 Atlantic Shores (20-7)

The Basics: Covenant closed the regular season strong, winning five of their last seven games to give themselves a chance to play in the state tournament. While the Eagles are still young after a complete youth movement last year, they’ve got more experience than meets the eye with four players who were part of a 10-person roster when the Eagles won a state tournament game two years ago. They’ll lean heavily on that group and they’ll need to play perhaps their best game of the season to knock off the Seahawks, but based on the squad’s upward trend that seems well within the realm of possibility.

Key Matchup: Covenant’s backcourt tries to defend Atlantic Shores guard Joscelyne Myers. The Eagles will have their hands full trying to contain Myers, who averages 14.5 points and 2.4 assists per game especially since her backcourt mate Aanyah Lambert can also hurt opposing teams with 13.2 points and 5.2 boards per game.

Who to Watch: Covenant’s Ella Dalton. Dalton reached the 1,000-point mark for her career earlier this season and now she’ll get a chance to further her legacy with a state tournament win as the team’s centerpiece. Dalton is a link between the past and present for the Eagles, one of the four remaining members of the team along with Claire Marie Colley, Caroline Morales and Briana Boland that won a first round state game in 2017. Can the experience from two years ago and the hunger created by missing out a year ago give the Eagles an edge?

The Line: Atlantic Shores by 1. Eagles can pull the shocker here on the road but it won’t be easy against a program used to competing in these spots.


2019 VISAA Division III Girls Basketball Tournament

First Round: No. 12 Tandem Friends (13-5) at No. 5 Carlisle School (15-5), 5 p.m.

The Basics: The Badgers come in after falling in the Delaney Athletic Conference Division II title game, but with just five losses on the season, the Badgers have proven their mettle to get a spot in the tournament. Long-time Tandem coach Gordon Fields will step down at the end of this year, but it’s quite a group he’ll wrap up his coaching career with led by eighth grader Alana Carter-Johnston who’s averaging 20.5 points, 4.4 assists and 2.6 steals per game. With Carter-Johnston in the lineup, anything is possible, and if Stella Lane can get going underneath, Tandem could have the inside-outside combination they’ll need to derail Carlisle. The Chiefs come into the state tournament after falling in the BRC finals to Miller, but that’s a quality loss. Now they’ll look to get back on track against a young Badgers squad.

Key Matchup: Tandem tries to defend Carlisle freshman Amara Harrell. Harrell averages 14.1 points, 3.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Who to Watch: Tandem senior Maya Goldstein. While Carter-Johnston and Lane are both critical pieces of the puzzle, the team’s lone senior, Goldstein, is averaging 8.9 boards per game. She’ll need a standout effort on the glass in order for Tandem to pull off the upset.

The Line: Tandem by 1. Badgers could pull off a shocker in Martinsville with the right kind of effort.