Charlottesville girls’ bench powers Black Knights past Fluvanna

Charlottesville’s bench contributed nine third-quarter points as the Black Knights opened a 19-point lead and cruised to a 47-31 victory over visiting Fluvanna County as Jefferson District play resumed on Tuesday night.


“I thought we got a lot of good energy from everybody who came in off the bench,” said Charlottesville coach Jim Daly. “We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we had in past games, and I give Fluvanna credit. They did a good job in their zone and pressured the ball. But we got a lot from a lot of people tonight.”


Fresh off their Daily Progress Holiday Tournament Championship, the Knights’ offense got off to a slow start as the game was tied 4-4 midway through the opening quarter. On the other end, though, Charlottesville’s defense was persistent and denying guards open looks at jumpers. Eventually, errant passes and blocks led to transition baskets and an 8-0 run.


“We turned it over 22 times (total), and during that stretch when it was a close game, when they get a couple turnovers and convert, now you’re constantly chasing,” said Fluvanna coach Chad White.


The Flucos, coming off a pair of post-Christmas week wins of their own, adjusted their offensive attack in the second quarter. Rather than passing around the perimeter with tight defense on the wings, guards found openings driving down the lane.


“They were taking away the wings, but we made an adjustment to attack the gap,” White said. “They did better with that, but we just didn’t finish enough under the basket tonight.”


As Fluvanna pulled within 19-17 just inside three minutes before halftime, Charlottesville suffered a setback as starter Alaijah Ragland went out with a leg injury. However, like in the first quarter, the Knights orchestrated a 7-0 scoring run over the next two-plus minutes, and headed into the break up 26-19.


“We really tried to take away penetration down the middle because it’s so much harder to rotate and help there, so we forced it out to the side more,” Daly said. “We do have a lot of depth at guard, so we had a lot come in and bring a lot of energy. Camiyah Brown and TC Younger did a great job defensively as ninth graders taking away that middle penetration.”


Even with Ragland and her six first-half points forced to watch the rest of the way, the Knights took firm control of the game with a 15-3 showing in the third quarter. Younger led with a pair of field goals, including a three-pointer, as Charlottesville pulled ahead 41-22.


“Their bench played fantastic,” White said. “That’s it right there. Someone had to step up [for Ragland], and they pretty much sealed the deal.”


In the fourth, Flucos’ forward Jemika Johnson finally dropped in a couple of buckets, and Mya Wright hit a three from the wing, but Fluvanna could get no closer than 43-30 with 2:14 remaining.


“We always tell the girls, Fluvanna’s going to play 32 minutes,” said Daly. “We had to fly to the ball on both ends, and show that we were going to hustle all 32 minutes as well. Collectively, we did a good job on the boards and held them off there at the end.”


Zanequa Thomas led Charlottesville with a game-high 14 points. Kajesha Taylor added seven off the bench, along with Kaniyah Key’s six points and several key blocks in the paint. Destinee McDonald also finished with six. Freshman Kyia Scott led Fluvanna with seven points, all in the first half.


The Flucos return home to host Powhatan on Friday night, while the Knights travel to Waynesboro on Thursday night before hosting Western on Friday.