The Louisa Lions’ girls’ basketball team’s run at the Jefferson District championship title ended with a road loss to Charlottesville in the semifinal round on Feb. 17.
The Black Knights opened the game with a 28-point offensive surge in the first quarter while largely keeping the Lions off the board on defense, holding them to nine points.
The Lions battled back in the second quarter, chipping away at Charlottesville’s lead with an 18-11 run to pull the score to 39-27 at halftime.
They continued to push in the third, pulling the score to within five points, thanks in part to Haley Walker knocking down a pair of three-point baskets and Emion Byers sinking a couple of shots inside the arch.
Charlottesville wasn’t going down without a fight and pulled ahead again, leading 51-40 heading into the final period. The Black Knights stayed on top from there, winning the game 63-51.
“[Charlottesville] came out and shot the ball very well in the first quarter,” said Louisa Head Coach Nick Schreck. “You can’t dig yourself a hole of 19 points in one quarter to a good team like Charlottesville. I am proud of my girls [and how] we fought back and chipped away at the lead. This was a good learning experience for our team.”
Olivia McGhee led the Lions with 23 points, followed by Byers and Walker with 11 points apiece.
Louisa opened the district tournament with a home game against Monticello on Feb. 14. Both teams got off to a bit of a slow start, each only putting up 10 points in the first quarter.
“We tried to force too much and we weren’t making our reads,” Schreck said. “The message going into the second quarter was ‘Relax on offense, find your reads, hit the open person and be ready to catch and shoot.’”
The Lady Lions took that message to heart. McGhee opened the quarter with back-to-back three-point baskets to put Louisa up 16-10. Alexis Chapman added two traes of her own before halftime as the Lions pulled away for a 29-18 lead.
Walker added a pair of three-pointers in the third quarter as the Lions extended their lead to 41-33. Monticello’s defense made a concerted effort to limit buckets from the Lions in the fourth quarter, but foul shots kept Louisa alive. McGhee was 10 for 11 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“I just had to see it go in once,” she said. “Once I did that, I was good to go.”
Julia Smith and Anna Filipkowski hit shots from the line as well as the Lions took the game 61-50.
McGhee led all scorers with a game-high 33 points. Chapman added eight for the Lions and Walker scored six.
The Lions closed out their regular season with a pair of district wins, securing the third seed in the district tournament. On Feb. 12, they traveled to Orange County for their final regular season game. Louisa opened the game with a 21-12 first quarter performance and extended their lead to 43-17 by halftime. They stayed well ahead of the Hornets in the second half for a 68-31 win.
McGhee was again the top scorer for the Lions, putting up 16 points. Waker and Filipkowski each added 10 and Smith put up eight.
Louisa opened the week with a home game against the Charlottesville Black Knights on Feb. 11.
The game was a battle throughout, with Charlottesville leading 11-8 after the first quarter and extending it to 30-21 by halftime.
The Lions began chipping away at Charlottesville’s lead in the third quarter, with Walker and Lydia Wilson knocking down three-pointers to pull Louisa to 33-30 by the midway point. The Black Knights went on a 7-4 run from there to go up 40-34 heading into the final quarter.
The Lions kept at it, though. McGhee hit a bucket from the floor to put the Lions up 49-48 with less than a minute to go, then Byers sank a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 51-48.
“I knew everyone was conting on me,” she said. “I knew if I made it. it would keep everyone’s spirits up and would keep us hyped, so that’s what I did.”
Charlottesville cut the lead to 51-50 with 12 seconds left but the Lions were able to run out the clock from there for the win.
“We’ve got everyone stepping up when we need to, and I believe we’re starting to peak at the right time of the season.
McGhee put up 19 points for the Lions, followed by Byers with 13. Walker and Wilson each added six.
With the district tournament behind them, the Lions now look to the Region 4B tournament, which begins next week.