O'Connell player Smith

Adrianna Smith shoots in a game for O'Connell. (Photo by Deb Kolt)

The regular season is complete and was a big success for the Bishop O’Connell Knights.

The girls high-school basketball team finished the campaign with a 21-5 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. That earned the Knights the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, its highest in Aggie McCormick-Dix’s eight years as head coach.

Also, O’Connell was ranked No. 2 behind conference rival Paul VI Catholic, in the most recent Division I state private-school poll. The teams split two regular-season games.

The 21 wins are the Knights’ most in a season since the 1992-93 year when O’Connell finished 24-5, winning the WCAC tournament and City Title game.

O’Connell began the 2019-20 season with many returning starters. But with the conference so balanced with talent and strong teams top to bottom, McCormick-Dix wasn’t sure what type of record her Knights could mass.

“This conference is so tough and so many of the games are close, so you just don’t know,” McCormick-Dix said. “We have a motto that includes one possession at a time and one rebound at a time. That has worked.”

McCormick-Dix said a big key for her team is keeping the players healthy and on the court.

“Routine is big for this team. If anyone is missing or misses games, that causes problems,” McCormick-Dix said.

Missing players was one of the reasons O’Connell struggled in a 100-59 conference loss to St. John’s, its one loss in the last six games.

O’Connell closed the regular season with a 52-36 win over Good Counsel. In that victory, a 14-0 Knights run, led by strong offensive rebounding, gave O’Connell the edge.

Ajia James, one of two 1,000-point career scorers on the team, had 18 points. Maikya Simmons, the other 1,000-point scorer, had 15, with Adrianna Smith scoring 11 and Aaliyah Carlock five. James scored 23 and Smith nine in a recent 55-53 league win over St. Mary’s Ryken.

Jada Brown, Alyssa Hayashi and Mikaela Brunais are other top players for O’Connell.

The Knights don’t have tall players, but McCormick-Dix said the squad has rebounded well all season.

O’Connell is scheduled to play Bishop Ireton in a first-round WCAC tournament game. The teams split two regular-season meetings.

If O’Connell wins that game, looming ahead could be No. 2 seed Paul VI or top seed McNamara, a team the Knights were 0-2 against during the regular season.

O’Connell will have to win three games in as many days to win the WCAC tournament. Then the Knights will play in the state tournament.

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