It wasn’t an offensive showcase by any means, but with two teams playing solid defense, Western Albemarle found enough points to put together a 52-41 victory that put the Warriors right in the middle of the Jefferson District title race at 2-0 in district play.
After a deadlocked, 20-20 first half, Western got going in the second haf with a couple of timely defensive plays that led to points including a steal and bucket by Brandt Berry and a shutdown defensive effort that built a seven-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The Warriors held Charlottesville to just five points in the frame, duplicating a first quarter effort where they held the Black Knights to five.
“The game plan was to make sure we get it in the post because we have a big size advantage,” Berry said. “I thought we executed that well in the second half.”
Western fed Sam Chisholm in the post throughout the night and picked up 11 points, 10 rebounds and three steals from the junior forward in a steady effort. Chase Stokes shook loose in the after a slow first half and finished with 10 points. It was more than enough considering how the Warriors were locking up the Black Knights up defensively.
Will Mason, who has become the Warriors’ defensive stopper, drew the tall task of trying to clamp down on Darius Watson. Watson managed just three points on the night, with all three coming at the line.
“Will Mason had the assignment most of the time and then Brandon Tolman when Will was out,” Maynard said. “I thought they both did an outstanding job. (Mason) is certainly our post defensive stopper but he’s had to guard some really guard-like players because a lot of folks don’t have low post guys. He’s gotten pretty good at guarding guards too.”
In the fourth, Charlottesville found some offense, but the Warriors kept them at bay with a pair of 3-pointers from Stokes and Sumpter. They were the only 3-pointers on the night for the Warriors, but the Warriors could overlook the lack of dynamic offense after the win, Charlottesville wasn’t so lucky.
“Bottom line tonight we couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” said Charlottesville coach Mitch Minor. “Nothing would go in.”
Sumpter and Jake Maynard each had three assists for the Warriors while Tolman came off the bench to snag six rebounds.
Jordan Saylor had 10 points while Jamar Pierre-Louis finished with nine points. Saylor also had four assists and a pair of steals while Isaiah Green checked in with six rebounds.
Western will take on Louisa County, who knocked off Powhatan in overtime Thursday night, in a Tuesday night battle. A win there could set up a critical game with Monticello on the road Thursday. The Black Knights will try and regroup against Fluvanna County on the road Tuesday.