By Drew Goodman / Scrimmageplaycva.com contributor
Charlottesville High School forward Andrea Lefkowitz stepped to the free throw line with less than a minute to play in Friday’s game with Louisa, looking to cap off an emphatic three-point play off of a steal. The exhausted Lefkowitz clanged the attempted foul shot off of the rim.
But after the night she had just polished off, the junior earned a slip-up, or two, or ten.
Lefkowitz dropped a career-high 28 points on the visiting Lions en route to a 76-58 triumph for the home-standing Black Knights.
“My coaches always emphasize about rebounding and boxing out, so I think I did well with that tonight and my teammates did a really good job of finding me,” Lefkowitz said.
Lefkowitz’ big night and a big hand from her backcourt teammates helped CHS fend off a game-high 31 points from Louisa star freshman Olivia McGhee. On the heels of a 12-point outing just 24 hours prior, Lefkowitz saved her best performance to date for McGhee and Louisa’s talented front line.
McGhee kept the pressure on Charlottesville early on from both inside and outside of the paint. The freshman reeled off 10 of her team’s first 14 points to push the Lions to a five-point lead midway through the quarter. After McGhee knocked down a pair of free throws, Lefkowitz responded with an big-time three-point play on the other end, her second of the opening frame.
After T.C. Younger brought the Knights to within one, Lefkowitz responded with four straight points that gave CHS a lead that it didn’t relinquish. McGhee certainly caught spectators’ eyes with her early play, but the veteran Lefkowitz finished the first quarter with 12 points, two more than her freshman adversary.
“We’ve seen spurts where she could be dominant, but I was so impressed with her energy and her focus,” Charlottesville head coach Jim Daly said. “She took tough shots, she worked so hard to get shots against a big lineup that rebounds well. I just thought her focus and intensity was right there from the start. She was excited for the challenge… I thought she did everything that she could to meet the challenge.”
Lefkowitz sat out the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, but quickly made her presence felt when she checked back in. The Lions were on the verge of pulling within single digits midway through the frame, before the junior racked up six straight CHS points. McGhee reached double figures before Charlottesville reached 10 points as a team, and required the attention of multiple defenders’ every time she touched the ball.
Louisa — behind eight straight points from McGhee — made one final charge in the fourth quarter. McGhee went coast-to-coast on back-to-back drives, and a pair of free throws by Emion Byers trimmed the deficit to just 12. The visitors did not close the gap any further, but that did not stop McGhee from being physical in the post, and got to the line three more times.
“[McGhee] is absolutely that talented, and it’s a credit to how hard she works,” Daly said. “She doesn’t just score because she’s tall- she scores because she works at every aspect of her game. As a competitor, you have to respect that, and its fun to play against.”
McGhee netted just three points in the third quarter, which is when the Knights made their move. Charlottesville led by just six in the opening minute of the second half, before the Black Knights took complete control of the game. A bucket by Lefkowitz triggered a quick 8-2 run that saw CHS pull ahead by 13. With the game in hand, CHS’ three-headed monster in the backcourt began to flex their muscles on offense.
Younger notched 14 points for the Black Knights, and was a force on the defensive end. La’Kasia Calloway knocked down a couple of threes to finish with 11 points, while Carmella Jackson had a 6-0 run of her own in the third quarter. She finished with eight for the night.
Ten different Black Knights touched the scoreboard in what Daly called one of his team’s most complete games of the 2019-20 campaign. The 76-point outing marked the third time this season in which the Black Knights eclipsed the 70-point plateau, and was just one shy of their second-highest tally for the winter.
“We talked about how much we shared the ball and how free we played and attacked,” Daly said. “Nobody seemed to be thinking too much and making mistakes. It was all about playing together and having fun, and it was really fun to watch.
Charlottesville will enjoy a week off before travelling to Albemarle on January 31, while Louisa will host perennial powerhouse Spotswood on Monday.