Albemarle and Charlottesville are the two closest-proximity schools in the Jefferson District and already play each other twice a year.
Thursday in the semifinals of the Daily Progress Holiday Hoops Classic, the Patriots and Black Knights tangled an additional time, adding some edge to a rivalry that doesn’t need much more.
Behind a balanced offensive attack and some hot first-half outside shooting, this edition went Albemarle’s way.
J’Quan Anderson led four Patriots in double figures with 15 as AHS set itself up in the tournament final for the third straight season with a 67-50 win on the Black Knights’ home floor.
“Coach told us to do what we’ve been doing,” Anderson said. “If they leave us open, we have to find a way to shoot. We were just penetrating, getting our shooters free, and that’s what opened up the offense for us early.”
Maxx Jarmon added 13 while Na’il Arnold and Derrick Jones chipped in with 11 apiece for the Patriots, who will meet St. Anne’s-Belfield in the tournament final Friday night.
“It got a little sloppy at times, Charlottesville can put a little pressure on you,” Albemarle head coach Greg Maynard said. “They’ve got a lot of the same players we do. I thought we executed well, especially in the second half.”
Albemarle went 6-for-8 from three in the first two quarters, scoring the first seven points of the game, leading 18-7 after one quarter and taking a 35-25 lead into the break. Anderson and Key nailed a pair of threes each to lead the way as the Patriot lead got as large as 12 late in the second before CHS made a move.
The Knights got a basket from Isaiah Washington and a four-point play from Nick Motley to cut the deficit in half and get a rise out of the home fans before four late Albemarle free throws equaled the halftime margin.
“Early in the game, we were letting them penetrate a little too much,” Maynard said. “In the second half we cut that down a little bit better. We made them earn their baskets.”
The Patriots’ defense took over in the third quarter. They held Charlottesville without a field goal for a five-minute stretch and expanded the lead to 18, punctuated by an electric fast-break slam from Na’il Arnold in the waning seconds of the quarter.
Charlottesville got no closer than 17 the rest of the way. The Black Knights were led by Motley’s 11 points while Sam Neale and Jibron Barnett added nine apiece. The Knights will face Western Albemarle in the third-place game on Friday.
“It’s a great environment,” Anderson said. “You have the student sections, you have families there, it’s an environment everyone wants to be in.”