Most Jefferson District teams have some familiarity with each other.
Charlottesville and Western Albemarle girls basketball though? It is starting to feel like they play once a week as the squads often clash four times a season.
In the latest installment of the rivalry that’s always a clash of styles, Western got the better of the Black Knights with a Herculean effort on the boards to pick up a 53-45 win
“In a game against a good team and Charlottesville is good and extremely well coached, extra chances are huge,” said Western coach Kris Wright. “We do it with rebounds, they do it with steals. Extra chances are huge in games like this.”
The victory gives Western (16-2, 10-0 Jefferson District) and a season sweep of the actual regular season clashes between the programs. CHS knocked off the Warriors in the Holiday Tournament.
As Wright pointed out, Charlottesville tries to create extra chances by speeding opponents up with pressure defense while Western has started to lean on its twin towers underneath on the boards, Sydney Sherman and Caity Driver.
“Caity and Sydney are both really really tall and willing to go get the ball,” Wright said. “When they do that, it gives us extra chances.”
Driver snagged 10 rebounds to go with nine points while Sherman led the offense with 20 points and also grabbed nine boards.
“We went in knowing we had to box out their post players because they can obviously rebound really well and we knew we had to find them,” Sherman said. “We knew we had to get stops.”
With Western pulling down 15 boards on the offensive end alone, it was clear what turned the tide in the third clash between the Black Knights and Warriors.
“Their posts did a great job on the boards, they just kept crashing and getting to the foul line,” said Charlottesville coach Jim Daly. “They were really sharp, they executed so well.”
Charlottesville managed to fight back into the game after trailing 25-17 at the half, and cut into the lead in the third quarter. But Western put together a significant spurt and quite suddenly the Warriors were back up eight, erasing the work the Black Knights had done coming out of the locker room.
“They’re going to make a run at some point — Charlottesville always makes a run,” Wright said. “They’re going to, let’s make sure we’re prepared for it.”
Charlottesville recently returned Jess Antwi and Kaniyah Key to the lineup in what has been an injury riddled season for a talented roster. While the Black Knights didn’t get the result they were looking for Friday, there’s reason to think that getting healthier could lead to a strong close to the season.
“We’re still trying to figure out some lineups having people back,” Daly said. “It was great having Kaniyah back, a senior who has really worked hard to rehab and get back from an injury. That was a spark there for us, she’s such a fantastic kid.”
T.C. Younger and Carmella Jackson each finished with 10 points, La’Kasia Calloway had nine and Andrea Lefkowitz chipped in six points.
Elisabeth Coffman finished with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Warriors. Western didn’t connect on a single field goal in the fourth, but went 15-for-23 at the free throw line as a team to preserve the win.
Western will take on Orange County in a make-up game Monday. The Black Knights host Louisa County Tuesday.