The Charlottesville girls came into the season think that it needed a little bit of something from its entire roster to compete this year. There might not be a better example of getting just that than it’s 49-42 win over Albemarle on Friday night where seven different players had five or more points and the Black Knights got a pair of big plays defensively to close out the contest.
“We knew this was going to be hard because Albemarle is a long physical team and the only one that’s out rebounded us all year and they’ve done it twice so it’s not a fluke,” said Charlottesville coach Jim Daly. “I thought we did a good job responding to it especially in the last few minutes where our guards made great decisions.”
Tied at 33-33 going into the fourth, the pace of the fourth quarter was relatively calm early on with mostly defense and just a few free throws for offense. But when TC Younger came up with a steal and a layup to make it 37-37, Charlottesville found a different gear for the final 2:58.
“That was the play where I noticed the crowd just getting really loud,” Daly said. “It was awesome having so many fans going nuts for these girls.”
The Black Knights defense came up with a turnover on Albemarle next possession. Charlottesville then relied on its free throw shooting to take a 47-42 advantage with just under a minute to play. With the Patriots looking to get the ball inside, Black Knights guard Kasey Lamb came up with a sneaky steal on a long pass and then finished on a breakaway with 18 seconds left to make it 49-42 and wrap up the game.
“We just had a lot of different girls step up,” Daly said. “Kasey has such great basketball instincts and is just a smart, heady player that’s playing well beyond being in ninth grade.”
In the first three quarters, the Patriots relied on its strong post play from MarQuelah Wilson, Sabrinia Shisbey and Ryleigh Kastra. They accounted for 22 of Albemarle’s first 33 points but were held to just one field goal combined in the fourth with the Black Knights defense clamping down in the paint with Charlottesville’s only senior, Kajesh Taylor playing a key role there all game long.
“Being the only senior, (winning) meant a lot to me,” Taylor said. “It was very emotional at the end even though we won.”
Charlotttesville came out of the break trailing 18-14 but got rolling offensively behind Kaniyah Key and Camiyah Brown as they scored nine of their team’s 11 third quarter points.
Taylor and Younger finished with a team high nine points each. Lamb and Brown each finished with six point. Lakasia Calloway, Carmella Jackson and Key all finished with five pioints.
For Albemarle, Wilson led the way with 12 points and eight of them coming in the third quarter. Haylee Howard-Radde finished with seven points. Shisbey and Kastra each chipped in six points. Kayla man had five points and hit the Patriots’ lone three pointer on the night.
“It was a battle and we just had a couple of missed rebound opportunities that would have let us make things closer at the end but I was proud of them girls for fighting,” said Patriots coach Rachel Proudfoot. “Our heads are down but we have to pick them up because we’ve got postseason play coming up and we can turn it around.”
By virtue of the win and Monticello taking down Western Albemarle on Friday, Charlottesville now sits tied with the Warriors in the Jefferson District standings with both teams having just one more regular season game remaining.
The Black Knights will travel to face Powhatan on Tuesday. Albemarle will play host to Fluvanna County also on Tuesday.