FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) — Paul VI principal, Virginia Colwell, was in a car accident in which she broke both of her arms, leaving her unable to attend the sporting events of her beloved Panthers.
Friday night’s basketball game was the first match-up she’s been able to attend since the accident, and she witnessed Paul VI’s biggest conference win of the season. The Panthers escaped with a hard fought victory over Bishop O’Connell, 55-48.
“It was personal for me to be able to bring a little joy to her in her first time able to get out. The kids really wanted to win for her. When you have a leader like that and the kids are really inspired and motivated to make her proud, it’s great,” said Paul VI head coach Glen Farello.
Following the win, players and fans alike all joined together in forming a circle for prayer, displaying their true sense of community. As soon as they finished prayer, the large group of players and fans alike looked up at Mrs. Colwell in the press box and gave her a standing ovation, as she was brought to tears.
This win by Paul VI is more evidence of the fact that the WCAC is up for the taking. In what most coaches and fans believe to be the most competitive league in the country, there is no clear cut favorite. But this night belonged to Paul VI, who denied O’Connell a comeback victory that the Knights looked very capable of during a close fourth quarter.
Sophomore Marcus Derrickson hit big free throws down the stretch to help the Panthers seal the victory.
“I’ve been in that situation before, and I’ve got confidence to knock them down,” said Derrickson.
Amongst the top tier teams in the WCAC, every game has a college atmosphere, where many players will go on to play at the next level. The immense level of competition that exists is one reason coach Farello can only let the excitement of this win settle amongst his team for so long.
“I want them to feel this positive energy for tonight, embrace it and let it carry us forward,” said coach Farello. “But tomorrow we come back to work and get back at it in preparation for Sunday. That’s what’s fun about this league, it’s solid top to bottom … best league in the country.”
After giving O’Connell their first conference loss, the Panthers will travel to Military Road in the District Sunday to face a competitive St. John’s team.