The teams have met for so long and so frequently, there are no longer any surprises, or trickery that works much, when the neighborhood rival Madison Warhawks and Oakton Cougars clash in girls high-school basketball.
Each are perennial district, region and state powers, know what the other team and players can do, so the games are all about playing hard and execution.
The most recent meeting was a physical Jan. 19 showdown in a Concorde District regular-season contest, won by the visiting and undefeated Warhawks, 52-35. Madison (9-0, 4-0) took the lead for good at 7-5 with 4:40 left in the first period, led 19-9 at the end of one quarter, 38-18 at halftime and was in control the rest of the way.
For Oakton (3-2, 0-1) the game was difficult because the Cougars had not played, practiced or had any competition for some two weeks because of pandemic restrictions.
“They are good and played tough,” Madison coach Kirsten Stone said. “For not having played or practice, I thought they did well.”
The teams are scheduled to play again Feb. 1. Madison swept Oakton in three meeting last season when the Warhawks finished 28-1.
“These girls all grow up together, so they know each other and they always play hard when we meet. The games are tough and fun,” said Stone, a Madison graduate who played against Oakton during high school. “Each team wants to win and knows how to beat the other. Sometimes I think Oakton knows our plays better than we do.”
Leading Madison in scoring was Grace Arnolie with 19 points, making a trio of three-pointers. Sarah Link scored 12, Katie Koshuta (seven rebounds) had six, Amalia Makrigiorgos had five and Mia Chapman made an impact off the bench with four points and five rebounds. Alayna Arnolie had four assists and three steals.
For Oakton, Sophia Zinzi made two three-pointers and scored 13 points; senior forward Hannah Kaloi had six points, seven rebounds and two assists; Kara Vietmeyer had four points and four rebounds; and Kayla Odeh made two threes for six points.
“She’s tough, and always gives us problems,” Stone said of Kaloi.
The girls game was the opening contest of a varsity doubleheader Jan. 19 at Oakton, with the boys playing the nightcap, and won by Madison (6-3, 3-1) by a 48-42 score. Oakton fell to 2-7, 0-4.
Madison led 27-23 at halftime and the score was tied at 37 after three quarters.
Elijah Turner scored 16 for Madison, Logan Spafford had 14 and had a key blocked shot in the final minute. Madison’s R.J. Waldron had some big rebounds at the end.
For Oakton, Nick Toole scored 16 and Alex Dimitri 14.
“Oakton executed well and was prepared,” Madison coach Kevin Roller said. “We went to a 1-3-1 zone defense for a stretch in the second half, and that gave us an edge.”
Oakton scored just five points in the fourth quarter.
Madison defeated Oakton, 58-46, earlier this season.