Western Albemarle’s girls basketball team knew what it was in for when it took on Charlottesville Friday night.
“This game is always intense, always physical,” said Western coach Kris Wright. “Both teams play hard and sometimes playing hard leads to collisions and rebounding battles and steal battles and all that kind of stuff.”
Western managed to win enough of those battles to take home a 45-37 win over the Black Knights, pushing the Warriors to 5-0 on the season.
The Warriors’ twin towers, Sydney Sherman and Caity Driver, battled with Charlottesville’s Jess Antwi all night, and that combined effort helped make the difference for Western. Sherman pulled down 13 rebounds to go with her team-high 17 points for a double double while Driver finished with 11 boards.
“Our bigs Sydney and Caity really controlled the glass,” Wright said. “Obviously it’s a big challenge with Antwi as good of a rebounder as she is. But it seemed like those three had the rebound or no one did. It was that kind of battle all night.”
Driver’s efforts were particularly critical as Sherman and Antwi, who had nine points, essentially offset each other on the boards. Driver bolstered that effort and made things tough on the Black Knights underneath.
“We had to stay really strong and work really tough against Charlottesville,” Driver said. “We just had to work really hard and not play soft.”
The Warriors needed that effort on the glass because in the second half, Charlottesville guard La’Kasia Calloway got going in the second half, scoring all nine of her points after the break. Calloway couldn’t prevent the Warriors from expanding a five-point halftime lead that was created largely by Annie Meenan’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the first half. With a thin bench currently due to some injuries, getting in any kind of hole made things tough for Charlottesville to claw back out.
“I was really proud, the five that finished that game played really hard, I don’t fault any of their effort,” said Charlottesville coach Jim Daly. “We have some things execution-wise to work on. A lot of times we played really good defense for 20, 25 seconds and then took a breath when the shot went off.”
Calloway was solid on defense too where she helped keep Elisabeth Coffman from taking Charlottesville apart like she has against several other teams this year already.
“I thought she played really tough on both ends, frustrating Coffman wherever she could,” Daly said. “We know what a great point guard she is and La’Kasia was really determined.”
The Warriors kept slowly expanding its lead, with Meenan forcing a five-second call with 6:03 to play that gave the Western a defense a spark while a minute later, Coffman buried a critical 3-pointer to push the lead to 37-28. Coffman chipped in eight points, five assists and three steals.
Western Albemarle takes on archrival Albemarle Wednesday at 6 p.m. while Charlottesville will host Fluvanna County Tuesday night in an effort to pick up its first Jefferson District win.