Sixteen girls basketball teams will vie for the Northern Region title with the start of the tournament tonight.
Will West Springfield hold onto its 2011 title? Or will Oakton reclaim it for the third time in four years? Will Madison's young but tough team surprise the Northern Region? Or will T.C. Williams' squad get vengeance for last year's close loss in the finals?
Read about Monday's matchups, take our poll and leave your thoughts in the comments section below the article.
Washington-Lee (11-13) at Oakton (24-0), 7:30 p.m.
The National District No. 4 Washington-Lee Generals will face an unbeaten Concorde District No. 1 Oakton Cougar squad in the first round of the tournament. While the Cougars averaged 64.1 points while defeating their opponents at an average of 29.27 points during the season, they have struggled offensively in their last three outings. The Generals' best chance at victory is to break through the Cougars' consistently tough defense. Players to Watch: Caroline Coyer (Oakton), Concorde District Player of the Year, 14.5 points per game; Katherine Coyer (Oakton), Concorde District Defensive Player of the Year; Emma Cooper (W-L), 13.2 ppg.
Lake Braddock (9-14) at Madison (21-4), 7:30 p.m.
Both teams boast strong frontcourt players that should prove an interesting matchup in tonight's Northern Region game: Madison freshman Kelly Koshuta and Lake Braddock junior Natalie Butler, both 6'2" and averaging at least 19 points per game. Madison, the Liberty District champions, are favored in the matchup, proving to be tough both down low and on the perimeter with Madison's Megan Henshaw leading the Liberty District in 3-pointers with 48 during the regular season. Players to Watch: Kelly Koshuta (Madison), 19.8 ppg; Megan Henshaw (Madison), 16.1 ppg; Natalie Butler (Lake Braddock), 19 ppg.
Fairfax (12-12) at T.C. Williams (18-7), 5:45 p.m.
Though a No. 2 seed in the Northern Region tournament, the T.C. Williams squad is a force to be reckoned with. Their only Northern Region losses this season have been to fellow Patriot District members West Springfield, who reigned supreme over the district this year. The Titans are a heavy favorite heading into tonight's matchup against No. 3 Fairfax (Liberty), scoring about 10 more points per game within district play. Players to Watch: Gaby Moss (Williams), 15.7 ppg; Liz McNaughton (Fairfax), 17.4 ppg.
Robinson (17-6) at Yorkton (12-13), 7:30 p.m.
These two teams have already faced each other, with the No. 3 Robinson Rams (Concorde) handily defeating the No. 2 Yorktown Patriots (National) 52-38 in early January. The Rams had a better handle over their own district, only losing to the undefeated Oakton Cougars. They have also outscored the Patriots over the season, averaging 50.3 points per game versus 40.6 points from Yorktown. Players to Watch: Mikayla Venson (Yorktown), 16.7 ppg; Tyler Hansen (Robinson), 11.2 ppg.
Annandale (14-9) at South Lakes (16-8), 7:30 p.m.
The No. 3 Annandale Atoms (Patriot) have had to work through an arguably more difficult schedule having to battle through matchups against fellow Patriot District teams West Springfield and T.C. Williams. But South Lakes' (No. 2 Liberty) offense has been comparable to Annandale's, scoring 52.57 points per game compared to the Atoms' 53.05 despite not having any player averaging more than 10 points. Players to Watch: Jacqueline Beathea (Annandale), 16.4 ppg; Abigail Rendle (South Lakes), 9.6 ppg.
Edison (16-7) at Chantilly (14-11), 7 p.m.
The No. 3 Edison Eagles (National) have outscored the No. 2 Chantilly Chargers (Concorde) 55.62 to 45.05 over the season, relying heavily on Ruth Sherrill's offense. Without their own go-to, dominant offensive player, the Chargers will have to shut down Sherrill to pull out ahead of the Eagles. Players to Watch: Ruth Sherrill (Edison), 19.3 ppg; Katrina Hutzell (Chantilly), 9.9 ppg.
Centreville (12-11) at Mount Vernon (23-1), 7:30 p.m.
A Mount Vernon victory should be a sure thing, with the Majors' only loss of the season at the hands of the undefeated Oakton Cougars in early December. The No. 4 Wildcats (Concorde) have had to battle for every win they've earned, with their three district wins coming at an average point margin of five points. Players to Watch: Kelly Loftus (Mount Vernon), 14.4 ppg; Samantha Porter (Mount Vernon), 12.4 ppg; Chaney Forbush (Centreville), 14.0 ppg.
Marshall (9-15) at West Springfield (23-2), 7:30 p.m.
With their only two losses coming at the hands of out-state teams in an elite tournament this winter, the Spartans are not only expected to easily defeat Marshall, but also be the region's best chance at upsetting the undefeated Oakton Cougars in the Northern Region championship game. Players to Watch: Logan Battle (West Springfield), 18 ppg; Rachel Waldron (Marshall), 9.4 ppg.