Albemarle needed a pair of road wins to get back .500 in the Commonwealth District, and if there’s one area where the Patriots have been consistent, it’s winning in someone else’s gym. Coming off of a victory agains Colonial Forge on Tuesday, Albemarle got what they needed after Friday as they travel to Orange County and cruised past Orange County, 66-44.
“I warned my guys of what happened last time we played — they made a big third quarter run on us and they led us most of the way through the fourth quarter,” said Patriots coach Greg Maynard, whose squad escaped with a home win against Orange back in December in the last minute. “I thought we handled that, they got in that 10-range but it didn’t get too serious so that was good. (Rebounding) we’re not that much bigger than they are and so I thought Andrew Mann and Ryan Londree’s hustle was big.”
By owning the rebounding department, particularly on the offensive end with forward Andrew Mann scooping up one loose ball after another, the Patriots went up by six points in the first quarter before going on a 16-7 run in the middle of the second that saw them increase the margin to 15 at the break.
“Realistically, it was on the boards (that hurt us most),” said Hornets coach Keyode Rogers. “Everytime we looked like we were ready to make a run, we’d miss a layup and then they’d come down and get two or three shots. You can’t play that way. We’ve been a smaller team the last three years, but tonight we did not do a good job boxing out.”
Also starting in the second and continuing until game’s end was Albemarle’s ability to draw fouls, which put many of Orange’s starters, including point guard Tyler Seal, on the bench for a significant amount of time. With the foul trouble, the Hornets offense slowed up substantially. Still late in the third quarter work by Rahiem Cooper and Larry Banks allowed Orange to get to within 10 points of the lead. But the Hornets scored just ten points in the final ten minutes while Albemarle tallied up 19 in the same amount of time to keep their distance for good and wrap up the win thanks to outside shooting from Kendall Hawkins.
“We played as a team tonight,” Hawkins said. “Everybody did their job and it all came together. It’s really worked out lately, it helped us last game too and so that’s been the difference.”
Mann had a monster game with 20 points and an astonishing 17 rebounds. When he wasn’t getting the job done inside, Ryan Londree was as the sophomore picked up eight points and five rebounds.
“We win most of our games because of rebounding,” Mann said. “Second, third chance opportunities, that’s how we’ve got it done — just doing a good job of finding a man and boxing him out.”
Hawkins scored 13 points while Harmon Hawkins added 10. Lee Carneal ran the Patriots offense efficiently in the half court set by finishing with nine assists.
For Orange, Cooper led the way with 14 points while Banks poured in 10 of his own.
Neither team gets much rest as both teams jump out of district to play on Saturday. Albemarle (9-6, 5-5) heads to Charlottesville at 7:30 p.m.
“Charlottesville always crashes the boards and they were off tonight, so they’ve got a bit of an advantage,” Maynard said. “We’ll have to play with a lot of intensity to be successful against them.”
The Hornets also hit the road against a rival, facing off against Louisa County at 7:30 p.m. Orange hopes to replicate a previous meeting between the two as they took down the Lions at home.
“Hopefully it helps playing (today) so we can shake this one off and play in a big rivalry game,” Rogers said. “But we have to play harder if we want to win.”