Teams might be able to discover a way to suppress the Oakton High girls basketball team's leading scorer, Caroline Coyer, every now and then.
But doing so might mean they discover just how powerful her twin sister, Katherine, can be on offense.
The "two-headed monster," as Coach Fred Priester lovingly referred to the senior Coyer twins, was in full display as Caroline focused on setting up plays and finding openings for her teammates while Katherine lit up the scoreboard with a game-high 29 points in the Cougars' Northern Region Championship win over West Springfield with a 63-49 final score.
"They were doing a good job of making it hard for Caroline, and I thought that would be the case," Priester said. "So we had some stuff where Caroline needed to set the table. The thing about Caroline is, which people don't really understand, she is perfectly willing to make the pass before the pass that gets the assist."
Caroline Coyer, who set the AAA Virginia High School League record for career assists this season, tallied seven assists.
"Every year West Springfield has played us differently, and we have to take what's open," said Katherine Coyer, who has committed to Villanova University with her sister. "Maybe Caroline didn't have a big night scoring, but assists is what she does best. I mean she just set the state record."
The Cougars and Spartans battled back and forth for much of the first period, but two points each from Angela Sickels and Katherine Coyer — who scored eight of her points in the first — in the last minute of the period gave the Cougars a 12-8 advantage, which they never relinquished.
The Cougars stretched their lead in the second period to six points, ending halftime with a 24-18 lead.
When asked how the Cougars managed to suppress the Spartans' lead-scorer and Georgetown University-bound senior Logan Battle to three points in the first half, Priester smiled and said, "Well, we put Elizabeth [Manner] on her."
"We had a few people guarding her by the end of the game, but Elizabeth did a really, really good job in the first half. In a sense, it saved Katherine's legs," he said.
Manner, a junior, also grabbed 10 rebounds and scored 12 points in the game.
The Cougars continued to suffocate the Spartans' offense in the third, allowing nine points as they tacked on 16 of their own.
Then Battle showed why the Cougars pushed so hard to prevent her from working her inside game, as she scored 13 of her 18 points in the fourth period.
But Battle's scoring run was not enough for the Spartans to overcome their deficit, giving the Cougars their 63-42 win for their third Northern Region title in four years.
The victory is extra sweet because of the ongoing rivalry between the two teams: In 2010, the Cougars defeated the Spartans in the Northern Region finals. In 2011, the Spartans knocked the Cougars out of contention in the semifinals to then go on to win the region title.
"Last year the beat us and it definitely has not gone forgotten and it definitely motivated us today," Katherine Coyer said. "While not looking too far ahead, we've definitely been looking forward to this matchup all year."
Both teams move on to the AAA VHSL tournament. Oakton will play Monacan High School, the runner-up from the Central Region, at 7 p.m. Friday at Robinson High School.
Points: Katherine Coyer (29), Elizabeth Manner (12), Caroline Coyer (6), Carlie Cronin (6), Torri Marquis (5), Angela Sickels (4), Meredith Burroughs (1)