Charlottesville head coach Jim Daly said his team knew it couldn’t play a traditional defense if it wanted to keep Carroll County’s shooters in check. So Daly’s squad employed a matchup zone and combined it with a dominating rebound performance to beat the Lady Cavaliers 41-31 Monday in a Group 4-A North Regional in Charlottesville.
The Black Knights killed Carroll County on the glass with 19 offensive rebounds. As a whole, Charlottesville outrebounded the Cavaliers 51-36. But more importantly, the Charlottesville defense kept Carroll off guard all night, limiting the Cavs to 20.7 percent (12-of-58) shooting from the field.
“We were playing a little bit of a matchup zone and trying to take them out of their normal sets. We’ve seen some clips of Carroll and they can make you look bad. When you are not up taking them out of what they want to do, they click,” Daly said. “They pass the ball well, they run great stuff and they are so well coached. I think if we had played a flat 2-3 zone or played man, they would have torched us.”
The Lady Cavaliers did alright in the early going in an unorthodox manner of their own. Keely Lundy and Mattie Kennedy each scored on driving layups and Megan Alderman hit a 3-pointer to put Carroll in front 7-2. At that point, the officials realized the two teams had been playing with a boys’ basketball. After the switch to a girls’ ball, Charlottesville (18-9) went on an 11-0 run and held the Cavaliers scoreless for the next 10 minutes.
Kennedy’s jumper with 1:02 left in the half ended a drought that included 16 consecutive missed shots from the floor for Carroll. Sami Reece scored 30 seconds later off an assist from Lundy to cut it to 13-11, but the Black Knights regained momentum as Bri Jordan corralled an offensive rebound and scored on a putback at the buzzer to make it 15-11.
Carroll County head coach Marc Motley said his team got decent shot opportunities, but felt like the Cavs failed to adjust to what Charlottesville was giving them. He also felt like the Cavaliers played timid, an uncharacteristic trait for Carroll teams.
“I thought we had plenty of open looks. You can look at the fouls and tell we weren’t very aggressive going to the bucket. We settled for jump shots all night long - that’s why we were 12 of 58,” Motley said. “The difference, even on our fast break situations, we are stopping and waiting for them to foul us and we’re not going to the bucket. We are waiting for them to guard us because I thought we played scared. The bottom line is we avoided contact all night long and offensively we settled for jump shots. But at some point and time you’ve got to decide, ‘Hey, I am just going to go to the bucket and get to the foul line.’ We didn’t do that. We shot nine free throws. They attacked the basket and we didn’t.”
The Cavaliers pulled to within 17-14 midway through the third quarter after Crysta Guynn scored on a layup and Sami Reece added a free throw. Charlottesville would end the period on an 11-4 run, however, with eight of those points coming off of offensive rebounds, which put the Black Knights ahead 28-18 heading into the final quarter.
“When it comes to toughness, they had 19 offensive rebounds on us. There are two things you look at it when you look at rebounding. You look at athleticism and you look at toughness,” Motley said. “And I look at them and I do not see them being that much more athletic than we are. I see them playing a lot tougher physically than we did, and that was the difference - us not attacking the basket and them killing us on the offensive boards.”
The Cavaliers did play more aggressive in the fourth quarter, but every time Carroll look poised to make a run, Charlottesville had an answer. A Lundy 3-pointer with 6:29 to go pulled the Cavs to within 29-21, but the Black Knights answered with three free throws before Alaijah Raglad drilled a 3-pointer of her own to extend the lead to 35-23.
Guynn answered with a 3-pointer, just Carroll’s third of the night, to cut it to 35-26 with 2:42 to play. But Charlottesville would score the next five points to go ahead 40-27 with less than two minutes remaining, effectively ending the game.
“I think we’ve lived and died by the jump shot all year long and we’ve usually made enough just to win,” Motley said. “Even in the games we haven’t played well, we have gotten hot at some point or another. Tonight we never got hot. We never made adjustments.”
Charlottesville won despite having just one player, Kendall Ballard, finish in double figures with 10 points. But winning ugly is nothing new for Daly’s team. The Black Knights also beat Fluvanna by a ridiculously low score of 28-10 in the Conference 23 Championship game.
“We pride ourselves on effort. There is not style points this time of the year,” Daly said. “We’re not as good of a shooting team as Carroll and we probably don’t pass the ball as well as Carroll does. But we can hustle and get tips and get rebounds and make things hard for them on the defensive end. I know what good shooters they have, so we did whatever we could to chase them off the 3-point line and make them make that one more play, because if not they have poured it in on teams.”
Guynn and Kennedy led Carroll County (19-5) with seven points each, while Lundy scored five points and Rylee Haynes added four.
Carroll County – Alderman 1 0-2 3, Lundy 2 0-0 5, Kennedy 3 1-2 7, Haynes 1 2-4 4, Turman 1 0-0 2, Guynn 3 0-0 7, Turman 1 0-0 2, Reece 1 1-2 3. 3-pointers – Lundy 1, Alderman 1, Guynn 1.
Charlottesville – McDonald 3 1-2 8, Starchia 2 3-7 7, Ragland 1 0-5 3, Ballard 3 4-7 10, Waller 2 1-2 5, Wade 1 0-0 2, Jordan 2 2-6 6. 3-pointers – McDonald 1, Ragland 1.
Carroll County 7..4….7..13 - 31
Charlottesville 10..5..13..13 - 41