There was too much speed, too much athleticism, and too little room for error for the Louisa Lions as they fell to the hosting Charlottesville Black Knights 46-84 in the two teams’ first round matchup of the Jefferson District tournament on Monday night. The loss eliminates the eighth-seeded Lions from the tournament.
“The effort has been there all year, that’s not the problem,” head coach Brian Wilson said of his team’s performance. “But, at some point, you’ve got to be able to play good basketball. That’s been the problem.”
With Charlottesville (16-3) holding the top seed in the tournament, Louisa (1-15) knew from the get-go it was going to be an uphill battle. Earlier in the season, the Black Knights handed Louisa defeats of 38 and 25 points.
On Monday, the Black Knights wasted little time. Playing their signature full-court press, up-tempo style of play, Charlottesville took an 18-7 lead after the first quarter. The Lions did manage to draw two quick fouls on Charlottesville’s star 6’2 forward Leon Straus, with Black Knights coach Mitch Minor being forced to remove Straus midway through the opening frame.
Unfortunately for Louisa, Straus returned at the start of the second, and he made his presence known early. Straus sank back-to-back treys that keyed a 17-0 scoring run for the Black Knights. A Lions team that had found themselves down just 13-7 found themselves in an unmanageable 30-7 hole midway through the second.
The Lions failed to reach double-digit scoring in either of the first two periods, scoring seven and nine respectively, and trailed 45-16 at the half.
“Initially, we wanted to force Charlottesville to shoot the shots we wanted them to take, and we did,” Wilson said. “We had some possessions where we stopped them early on, but we weren’t able to score. This is not the type of team where you can give up those opportunities and let them get ahead.”
To read the entire story, see the Feb. 13 edition of The Central Virginian.