WOODBRIDGE — One streak’s gone, but the most important remains for the Woodbridge High School boys basketball team.
The Vikings are headed for their 13th straight regional tournament, thanks to a 50-42 win over Hylton in Friday night’s one-game playoff at Forest Park to decide the Cardinal District regular-season title. Viking junior guard Dan Fountain led all scorers with 17 points as Woodbridge moved to 24-1 all-time in the rivalry — with the exception coming Feb. 11 at Hylton.
When district play resumed Thursday night following a nine-day layoff because of inclement weather, Woodbridge, Gar-Field and Hylton shared the Cardinal lead with 3-2 records. The Vikings (15-8) knocked off Gar-Field at home one night, then defeated Hylton in the extra game the next.
“I think we gave a good effort [Thursday] night, and then we came in here knowing a win would get us to regionals,” Fountain said. “Tonight, we played one heck of a first half.”
Trailing 29-14 at the break and 36-14 early in the second half, Hylton (13-6) was unable to make up the difference. The Bulldogs charged within 41-37 on a baseline jumper by Morgan Lindsey with 3:20 remaining, but they came up empty on two possessions with a chance to draw even closer.
“Foul trouble hurt us in the first half,” Hylton coach Kevin Brown said. “We had four starters on the bench with four fouls, and when you combine that with poor shooting [6-for-24 from the floor] you’re in trouble. We came close, but close doesn’t cut it this time of year.”
Now, the Bulldogs will have to beat Gar-Field on the Indians’ home floor in tonight’s 7:45 p.m. tournament game to have a chance at getting to their second straight regional (and third in school history). The tournament champion (or runner-up, should Woodbridge win the event) will get the Cardinal District’s other spot in the eight-team Group AAA, Northwest Region field.
Woodbridge will meet fourth-seeded Forest Park in the first semifinal at Gar-Field tonight, scheduled for 6 p.m. The final is scheduled for Wednesday night.
This district season, the Vikings’ only two defeats came to Forest Park in triple overtime and in the historic meeting with Hylton. Woodbridge reciprocated its most recent result in the Bulldog series after going on a 17-0 run to take a 23-6 lead. Hylton never led Friday night.
Six-foot-4 forward Dana Smith scored a team-high 13 points for the Bulldogs, but Darren Robertson, a 6-foot-3, 175-pounder, held his own against the taller and bulkier Smith and Jermaine Hill (seven points).
After an 11-point, eight-rebound showing (following a three-point, 10-rebound night against Gar-Field), Robertson said, “I knew the team needed me to play on Jermaine, and I adjusted to what we needed. We have scorers on this team — and I still shoot when it’s there — but I can help in other ways.”