On Friday, Jan. 16, the Falls Church High School boys varsity basketball team snagged their first official district win in the past two years during a face off against the Thomas Edison High School Eagles.
“It was a great win for all of Falls Church. The crowd was behind us 100 percent. You could see their Jaguar spirit,” said assistant coach Joe Cascio.
The game was predicted to be even, with both teams starting off slow this season. From the start of the game, the Eagles came out hot, scoring the first three buckets. They went on to a nine-point lead with four minutes left in the quarter. After a quick timeout, the Jaguars went on a 12-0 run, with senior Kyle Gotcher and junior Nate Jones leading the way. It was all even, 12-12, at the close of the first quarter.
The excitement from the first quarter continued as the crowd hyped up both teams. Edison made the first points of the quarter, but the Jaguars didn’t fold. With a few key turnovers, plus a lay-up, Falls Church was right back in it, taking the lead with 2:40 left in the first half, 24-23.
At the start of the second half, the Jaguars sparked a 7-0 run, causing the faithful fans of Falls Church to engage in a frenzy of yells and chants. Despite the crowd’s best efforts to motivate the Jaguars, they lost their lead with less than four minutes left in the third quarter, which Edison held their lead throughout the rest of the third.
Down 39-32, Falls Church roared back at the start of the fourth with two powerful lay-ups from senior Evan Hanson, along with a bucket, plus one foul shot from sophomore Nizar Alamin. These crucial points catapulted Falls Church to a one-point lead, 42-41.
The Jaguars’ crushing defense spelled the end for Edison.
“Our defensive pressure and looks especially in the second half allowed us to get easy steals along with buckets that helped us get the win,” said head coach T.C. Popageorge.
With the spirit of the Eagles fading and the crowd’s energy contributing to the game, it seemed like Falls Church could finally walk away with a smile. Falls Church was up with 31 seconds left as the game was coming down to the wire. Edison had numerous chances to win, but when the buzzer rang, Falls Church was victorious 52-49.
The groundbreaking win led the masses to storm the court at the defeat’s close.
When asked how he felt about getting the first National District win of his career, coach Popageorge said, “It feels great. I’m just so happy for the seniors on the team as well as the rest of the team.”
In a game that reiterates never counting out the underdog, and with the Yorktown Patriots on the horizon, the Jaguars now have some momentum going into the game as they play at home on Friday, Jan. 23.
Perhaps Coach Cascio said it best with “It feels so, so good.”