By Drew Goodman / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor
In years past, when Albemarle’s MarQuelah Wilson was one-on-one in the high post, her defender knew to hunker down do everything that she could to prevent the talented forward from driving in.
But things have changed this year, and Albemarle opponents are finding out that Wilson has expanded her range the hard way.
Fresh off of a 20-point outing against Spotswood, Wilson matched her career best on Friday night against rival Charlottesville. The junior scored from both inside and out plus went 3-of-4 from the foul line on the final minute of the Patriots’ 50-44 triumph over the visiting Black Knights.
Wilson hit several mid-range shots throughout the contest, but none were bigger than a jumper from the free-throw line with 3:17 remaining in regulation.
The Knights had just retaken the lead of what had become a seesaw battle, but Wilson’s jumper answered a big bucket on the other end, and the Patriots did not relinquish the advantage again.
Wilson was the outlet option following a relentless Charlottesville press, and received the ball at the foul line, but instead of taking her defender off of the dribble, the junior elected to display her newfound offensive skillset.
“Ever since towards the end of last season, I’ve been working on my jumper. My dad [former Albemarle boys basketball great Marcus Wilson] knew that I had it in me,” Wilson said. “I’ve been working on not just posting up, but being able to shoot, and when it’s there just in case I don’t have a lane to drive to the basket.”
Wilson followed up her clutch jumper with a foul shot on the next Albemarle possession, and later converted three key free throws in the game’s final minute to slam the door on the Knights.
The Albemarle legacy hit all but two of her attempted jump shots in the first half, but cleaned up one of those misses for a second-chance bucket in the post.
“[Wilson] has opened up her game so much more than just back-to-the-basket,” Albemarle head coach Rachel Proudfoot said. “It gives her a breather. She plays chest-to-the-basket a lot, but when she knocks that down, it gives everyone a chance to get set.”
Wilson had plenty of help, as junior guard Jamie Radmacher tallied nine of her 11 points from beyond the arc, before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Senior Sabrina Shisbey battled foul trouble as well, and finished with nine big points for the Patriots.
With her team leading by five at intermission, Rademacher opened the second half with back-to-back triples to kick start an 8-1 AHS run.
Albemarle led by as many as 12, before Charlottesville finally got things going on offense.
Camiyah Brown answered the Albemarle run with a big three-pointer following a timeout, and all of the sudden, the basket began to open up for the cold-shooting Knights. Charlottesville reeled off an empathic 16-2 run in less than three minutes, thanks in large part to the Knights’ pressure in the backcourt following made shots.
A pair of free throws by Jessica Antwi gave Charlottesville its first lead since the opening quarter, and set the tone for an exciting final 10 minutes of play.
A reverse layup by T.C. Younger gave Charlottesville a 41-40 advantage with 3:28 remaining, before Wilson responded with the game-changing jumper on the other end. CHS had several chances to tie the game late in the contest, but could not recapture their offensive fire power from the third quarter.
“I thought we did a better job [in the third quarter] converting defense into offense,” Charlottesville head coach Jim Daly said. “I thought we did a better job of matching their energy there. We just need to continue that over into the fourth quarter.”
Younger led the Black Knights with 13 points, while Kasey Lamb and La’Kasia Calloway each chipped in seven.
Charlottesville will host Powhatan on Monday, while the Patriots will return to action on Tuesday against Fluvanna.