Spotswood repeats as state champs in unique way

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The Spotswood girls basketball team repeated as Class 3 state champions this season without playing in the state title game.

The Spotswood girls basketball team repeated as Class 3 state champions this season without playing in the state title game.

The Trailblazers, who won Class 3 state title last season, were scheduled meet Lord Botetourt for the championship on Friday, March 13. However, the game would be canceled along with other VHSL state basketball finals due to COVID-19. Spotswood and Lord Botetourt were declared Class 3 state co-champions along with boys and girls teams in Class 1, 3, 4, 5, & 6. The Class 2 girls and boys finals were played prior to the other games getting canceled.

Spotswood posted a 27-2 overall record in 2019-2020 with the two defeats coming to out-of-state teams. The Trailblazers won the Valley District regular season and tournament titles along with the Region 3C championship.

"I just think we had a lot of chemistry this year," said Spotswood senior forward Stephanie Ouderkirk. "A lot of the same girls coming back and the girls coming on really bought into what we were doing. Just the culture that we kind of formed as seniors coming...the expectation was high so we wanted to meet the expectations and we really wanted to come in and win a second (state title)."

Ouderkirk, who has signed to play at James Madison, led a talented senior class that included standout guards MacKenzie Freeze and Alexis Bennington-Horton. Despite losing those athletes, the Trailblazers return a talented group that will try to make it three straight state titles next season.

"With this group especially we talked a whole lot about not just leaving one foot print on the program but leaving two," said Spotswood head coach Chris Dodson. "With one foot print you can find out that somebody was there. Two foot prints tells you the direction they are going and the second state championship I feel like left a second foot print for them so the other kids in the program realize the direction we are heading and gives them something to keep walking towards."