Coming into Tuesday’s home rematch with Charlottesville, the Louisa County girls basketball team’s smallest margin of victory was 19. The Lions had won their first match with the Black Knights two weeks ago by 32 points.
Charlottesville came into Mineral Tuesday night and gave the unbeaten Lions all they could handle, but ultimately fell 50-44 thanks to some clutch free throw shooting and the huge play of Olivia McGhee late.
“It’s good because it’s what we’ll see when we get into region play.” Louisa head coach Nick Shreck said. “It’s good to have a team like Charlottesville really test us and really get into us. It was a physical game and it’s only gonna make us better.”
Charlottesville jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead, but the Lions’ full court press eventually took over and led to three straight baskets for McGhee in the first to put the Lions up 8-6. The Black Knights did not back down, however. The CHS guards started to pick apart the press, leading to easy fast break buckets thanks to the superb play of freshmen Rayquel Allen.
She had a couple nifty paint points and rattled in a three to put CHS up 19-13 at the end of the 1st, and the Lions looked rattled. The Louisa defense quickly recovered, however, and clamped down and only allowed one bucket in the second quarter. The Lions surged to a 30-22 halftime lead.
CHS quietly hung around the entire 3rd quarter, despite all the momentum swinging to Louisa. Allen and Andrea Lefkowitz were the only CHS players to score in the period, and the team only managed nine points. However, they held Louisa to only five points themselves and cut the lead to 35-31 going into the 4th.
The entire fourth was a physical, back and forth battle, but Louisa stayed ahead by two possessions almost the entire way. Then, Allen hit her fifth three of the game to cut the Louisa lead to 44-43 with 2:28 left. Shreck promptly called timeout to talk it over.
“I just told them to relax a little bit.” Shreck said. “Just trust what we’re doing, trust our offense, trust in each other.”
McGhee scored to put Louisa up by three, and the Lions were able to hang on from there. The Lions defense forced a stop and Shreck immediately called another timeout to calm his team down.
Alexis Chapman then found McGhee on a great feed to score and put the Lions up six with 19 seconds left. She then snagged the rebound off of a CHS miss and sank both free throws to put the game away.
Charlottesville head coach Jim Daly was still pleased with his team’s effort, despite the loss.
“If that’s Black Knight basketball, the way we played tonight, then we’re gonna be fine.” Daly said of his team’s performance.
Allen scored a team high 23 points. Lefkowitz notched 13 and hauled in 22 rebounds. Charlottesville (3-2) plays at Albemarle Friday.
For Louisa, McGhee finished with 25, and Jackson added 14. The Lions (7-0) go to Monticello Wednesday night.