It may have been a few weeks since the Louisa Lady Lions played any basketball games, but you wouldn’t know it from their performance. Taking to the court for the first time since December for three games over a five-day stretch, the Lions put up three decisive wins to remain unbeaten for the season.
“We knew coming into the season that we had a pretty good team,” said Louisa head coach Nick Schreck. “The way we’re gelling right now, I mean, some of these girls are seeing things on the floor that I don’t even see on the sidelines. [They’re] making the extra pass, trusting their teammates and it’s ending up in a wide open shot for us.”
The Lions picked up wins over Charlottesville and Fluvanna to improve to 4-0 in the Jefferson District and added a win over the Chancellor Chargers for a 5-0 season record.
All three games had similar openings, with the Lions hitting the gas almost as soon as the ball started moving, putting up more than 20 points each time to jump to double-digit leads by the end of the first quarter.
The girls didn’t let up after the opening salvo, increasing their lead by halftime and continuing to do so throughout the second half. Against the Charlottesville Black Knights on Jan. 15, the Lions turned a 10-point first quarter lead into a 15-point advantage by halftime and went on to win 72-40. In their home contests against Chancellor and Fluvanna, the victories came by 20-point margins – 69-49 and 77-57, respectively – after leading 40-22 at the half.
Which isn’t to say the victories came easy. Both Chancellor and Fluvanna proved to be scrappy opponents who were, at times, able to match the Lions’ pace, going on runs and chipping away at their lead a little. Each time, though, the Lions were able to come up with an answer and extend their lead again.
The Lions continue to be led on offense by sophomores Olivia McGhee and Sylvie Jackson, who were the team’s leading scorers in all three games. Jackson put up game-high totals of 28 and 27 points against Charlottesville and Fluvanna, while McGhee led the way against Chancellor with 24. Both girls earned double-doubles in the game against Charlottsville, with McGhee snagging 13 rebounds and Jackson grabbing 10.
Jackson and McGhee aren’t the only players putting up points for The Lions. Ten different players contributed to the victory over Charlottesville and junior Emion Byers tallied season-high 14 point totals against both Chancellor and Fluvanna.
“We knew she had this in her,” Schreck said after her performance against Chancellor. “It was just a matter of time before this was going to happen.”
Depth is one of the biggest weapons the Lions have this season and it’s one that Schreck thinks could lead to any of the players on the team getting a chance to shine on any given night.
“We’ve got Sylvie and we’ve got Olivia, and they’re going to carry us night in and night out,” he said, “but if one of them has an off night, somebody else has to step up. [Against Chancellor] it was Emion. Who knows who it’s going to be the next night?”
The Lions take their winning record on the road on Jan. 22 to face the Albemarle Patriots. They will be back in The Den on Jan 26 for a home game against Charlottesville. Action begins at 7:30 p.m. on both nights.