With 1:43 left to play, Louisa County girls basketball’s bench cheered wildly for what they thought was a charge drawn by a fellow Lion. Instead, it was a bucket and the foul for Patrick Henry.
It was just about the only mistake Louisa County made all night.
The Lions jumped out early on the Patriots early and rolled 74-47 in the Region 4B semifinals, punching a ticket to the region championship game. Louisa will face a quick turnaround for a shot at the title, hosting Monacan Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Olivia McGhee and Sylvie Jackson each poured in 22 points in the victory, but it was the Lions’ defense that got things going. Louisa employed the full court trap that has served them well much of this season, forcing turnovers and creating fastbreak baskets that powered Louisa to a 17-2 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“It’s hard to practice against the length that we have,” said Louisa coach Nick Schreck. “When we’re locked in like we were defensively tonight, we’re hard to beat. Mentally we were here tonight and ready to play. It showed right from the get-go.”
Patrick Henry certainly couldn’t find an answer and on offense, Louisa buried nine 3-pointers as a team, with Haley Walker, Lydia Wilson, Jackson and McGhee hitting two each while Kyla Banks knocked down one of her own. Wilson finished with 10 points on the night.
Any possibility of a Patrick Henry comeback was erased by a 27-point third quarter that allowed the Lions to transform a 39-13 halftime lead into a 66-26 blowout. Bringing similar intensity after the break despite being up by a comfortable margin was a positive sign for the Lions as they keep trying to survive and advance in the playoffs where it can be easy to lose sight of small things and make sloppy plays.
“We’ve realized that we’ve got to perfect the little things like boxing out and talking and that’ll make us that much better of a team,” McGhee said.
The Lions were able to sit McGhee and Jackson for the most part in the fourth quarter and that led to a lot of wild cheering, including the moment when junior reserve Shakiya Jones drew a foul and knocked down a free throw. The Lions clearly enjoyed picking up a postseason win a year after getting knocked off in the first round.
“If you’re not having fun, you’re not going to win games — you’ve got to have fun and handle your business too,” McGhee said.
Now the Lions get to try and keep having fun — and keep taking care of business — Wednesday when they host Monacan at 1 p.m.