It&3039;s just, after five consecutive games in foreign gyms, the Indians are looking forward to finally playing in front of a home crowd.
Their fans are in for a treat.
Stafford, which has traveled to Charlottesville for a three-day tournament and made two trips to western Prince William County already this season, improved to 5-0 Tuesday night with an exciting 62-58 victory over Osbourn Park. Senior center Megan Vrabel had 24 points and eight rebounds and the Indians converted six consecutive free throws in the final 27 seconds to give Rick Butler his 100th win as Stafford&3039;s head coach.
“Megan hadn&3039;t had her coming out party yet. Tonight was the night,” Butler said. “She was the go-to person.”
The Indians went to Vrabel in all four quarters. The tallest player on the court at 6-foot-2, she hit a game-high 11 field goals, including a layup off a designed in bounds play with 1:35 remaining to put Stafford ahead 54-52. She scored eight fourth-quarter points as Stafford survived Osbourn Park&3039;s best performance of the season.
“The youngsters for OP hung in there tough,” Butler said. “Man, did they shoot the eyes out. They&3039;re a very decent team. But on our kids&3039; behalf, in the fourth quarter, we made the plays.”
The plays came from junior guard Hannah Taylor, who hit a pair of fourth-quarter buckets to cap a 10-point, five-rebound night and Shanna Hylton, who finished with nine points. Junior guard Amanda Roberts played tremendous defense, especially in the final period, and senior guard Lindsey Jones sealed the win at the foul line.
Jones scored 10 points overall with the final four coming on free throws in the final 27 seconds.
The Indians needed every point. Osbourn Park, which lost to Hylton 72-48 and North Stafford 63-45, led 46-40 early in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Sarah Thompson scored 18 points,. while sophomores Reba Stewart and Erin Meyers finished with 14 points each for the Yellow Jackets.
“We&3039;re on the low part of a learning curve. We&3039;ve improved, but it would be nice to get a win,” said OP coach Larry Nemerow.
The Yellow Jackets were in contention until the final minute when Hylton&3039;s baseline jumper with 44 seconds remaining put Stafford ahead for good, 56-54.
“We have some young kids and they don&3039;t know what their potential is,” Nemerow said. “We&3039;re trying to put them in a position to find out what they can do.”