During the 2017 4A Virginia Boys State Basketball Championship, the public address announcer at Richmond’s Siegel Center mispronounced the name of Loudoun Valley High School’s hometown several times. Purcellville may not be well known by many in the Commonwealth, but after Valley’s performance March 10, it won’t be a name basketball fans soon forget.
Sparked by one of the best shooting efforts in championship game history, the Vikings thrashed Jamestown 80-48 for a lopsided victory. With the win, Loudoun Valley brings home the first ever boys’ basketball state title to Purcellville.
“I think it brings a name to Purcellville,” said junior Jordan Miller, the Vikings’ leading scorer in the game. “We may be small but we play good basketball. We opened people’s eyes tonight. Just because you’re small, doesn’t mean you don’t pack a big punch.”
Miller finished with a game-high 26 points, shooting a mind-boggling 11-for-12 from the field. The team as a whole finished with 31 field goals on 44 attempts for an astonishing 70.5 shooting percentage.
“We ran our offense and played team basketball and just we found open guys. We trusted each other and stepped up and made plays,” said senior Duron Norris, who finished with eight points and shot a perfect four-for-four on the game.
Also playing in his final high school basketball game, fellow senior Nick Ball added 19 points and seven assists. Junior Dominic Peterson added 14 points, the third Vikings’ player to finish with double figures.
Ball got the game started by making his first two shots, helping the Vikings take an early lead they would never relinquish. Valley was up 16 after the first quarter and Jamestown would never seriously threaten the rest of the way.
“We had to reel them in in the locker room,” said head coach Chad Dawson. “They were so excited. You could see that in their faces.”
In his 14 season leading the team, Dawson lead the Vikings to their first championship after several years of deep post season runs. The team has been a perennial playoff contender, and last season, Valley was undefeated before being upset by Monacan in the state playoffs.
This year, Valley finished 30-1, with the only loss coming by three on the road at Heritage. Vikings’ players said the game helped the team re-focus it’s efforts, and they wouldn’t lose again the rest of the way. The Vikings blew by Monacan 83-61 in this year’s state quarterfinals, and advanced with one-sided victories in the next two rounds to take the title.
In the three-game state tournament, Valley outscored its opponents 232-152.
“I think we were so close last year and looking at how they approach the game, it seemed to me that looking into their eyes and everything, there was more anxiousness in the Monacan game, and once we got through that game, I personally wasn’t very nervous,” Dawson said.
His team seemed equally cool during the win. After this one, they also have a championship.
“We’ll probably wake up 2:30 in the morning and we’ll realize we’re state champions,” Dawson said. “It’s kind of surreal to say right now. I think that’s how locked in these guys were.”