ABINGDON, Va. – Abingdon girls basketball coach Jimmy Brown has been staring at the same banner for years.
“It’s for Abingdon’s last regular season district title in 1990,” Brown said. “We went undefeated a couple years when we were in the Southwest District, but that was in Conference 32 and we didn’t play all the teams twice. We didn’t celebrate those.”
The Falcons did celebrate Friday after clinching the Mountain 7 District championship with a 74-53 win over the John Battle Trojans.
Senior guard Peyton Carter lead the victory party for AHS (20-2, 11-1) by scoring 35 points.
“We’ve been wanting this championship for four years, and it pretty crazy to finally get it done,” Carter said.
Carter, who averages over 21 points per game, put on an offensive display with jump shots, drives and athletic layups.
“The environment as really cool with the large crowd on senior night, so I wanted to play my best,” Carter said.
Brown said he enjoyed the show.
“When Peyton is hitting shots, sometimes you just sit back and watch,” Brown said.
It was also a landmark night for AHS seniors Emily Breeding (12.6 ppg.), Sarah Walters and Cassie Farley, who have combined for 63 wins the past three years. Farley contributed 13 points Friday in addition to her usual stellar defense.
“We have a couple pictures in the locker room from when we started paying together,” Carter said. “We’ve formed a wonderful bond, and we don’t want it to end.”
The Falcons are the fourth seed in the Region 3D rankings, and will host the No. 5 team (Cave Spring) in the first round of the regional playoffs. AHS will also host the Mountain 7 tournament next week.
So what makes this edition of the Falcons so special?
“The girls just compete hard and work together, plus they really love the game,” Brown said.
Senior guard Bethany Smith (11.7 ppg.) paced John Battle (4-17, 1-11) with 14 points. The Trojans have dropped nine straight games.
Carter said the Falcons are eager for more banners.
“Winning district was one of the first goals our senior class made as freshmen,” Carter said. “We’re just checking goals off as we go now.”
Abingdon 71, John Battle 56
It was also a night to remember for Abingdon junior Jake O’Quinn.
The 6-2 guard tied his career-high with 19 points as the Falcons overcame early deficits of 6-1 and 16-12.
“Any player on our team is capable of hitting shots, and I was just feeling it tonight,” O’Quinn said.
The Falcons (12-10, 7-5) three players who average double figures in 6-foot-1 junior Chase Hungate (17.2 points per game), 6-1 junior Jake Thacker (12.6) and O’Quinn at over 10 points per game.
“About half our team is juniors and have been playing together since middle school,” O’Quinn said. “We’re still working.”
AHS coach Aaron Williams likes the progress of his team.
“We had three hard-fought games this week against Wise Central, Lee High and John Battle, and I thought our guys showed a lot of resiliency,” Williams said.
Thacker added 19 points Friday while versatile River Carter collected 11 points and 6-7 freshman Evan Ramsey added 11.
Reed Samuel (17.8 ppg.) led the Trojans (4-17, 0-12) with 24 points, while Zach Smith added 17. The Trojans are on a 14-game skid, but Samuel has scored 92 points in his last three games
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