Western Albemarle thought it had its hands full already coming into 2017 figuring out how to distribute Chris McGahren’s playing time as he’ll be out for six weeks with a facial injury. On the same day that McGahren was in the hospital getting on the mend, the Warriors got hit with a four minute reality check of what it’s like when Ryan Ingram is out too after he was hit just above his right eye and wasn’t allowed back into the game until the bleeding stopped. With Western ahead of visiting Louisa by two when Ingram returned, the senior unleashed a 14-0 run on his own. That gave Western the offensive spark it needed on a night where it’s defense was outstanding against Louisa County to pave the way for a 66-33 win.
“I thought the defense was really good and we did a great job on Malachi Poindexter because he’s really good,” said Western coach Darren Maynard. “Josh Coffman has been amazing on each assignment we’ve given him. I thought we took care of things on the glass and that was great because they’re a big, strong team.”
After a 5-0 start by the Warriors, the Lions came back to make it 8-6 after Ingram was sent to the sidelines and eventually the locker room to deal with the cut above his eye. When he returnd in the last minute of the first quarter he hit a 3-pointer out of the gate. Then he hit a buzzer beating trey, a jump shot from almost half court. Then he hit a three to start the second. After he finished a layup, the senior star knocked down another 3-pointer and smiled before interacting with the crowd.
“I wanted to pull ahead for the team and really just didn’t want us to lose this game because we’re playing for Chris since he had surgery today,” Ingram said. “I was really determined when I came back.”
It was a 14-0 individual run that put Western up 22-6, for lack of a better term, in a blink of the eye.
“Ryan Ingram just took over as he’s want to do on occasion,” Maynard said. “He gave us the big lead. Man, he’s tough. He got bandaged up and will probably need stitches but I think he came out a bit fired up and couldn’t miss.”
Louisa struggled offensively, particularly at the free throw line, but was able to mount an 8-3 run for the rest of the second quarter to make it 25-15. But a Coffman 3-pointer gave Western a 28-15 lead going into the break. With an 11-0 run to start the third for Western, the second half was never close. With contributions from Teo Rampini, Austin Cress, Caleb Perez, Daniel Thomas, Gabe Nafzinger, Jed Strickland and Garrett Payne in addition to Ingram’s usual game, the Warriors cruised. With the game at 47-31 in the fourth, Western played its whole bench and managed to finish with a 21-2 run to close out the win.
“With Chris being gone we talked about how important these minutes are from the bench, that guys are going to have to step up,” Maynard said. “They waited until the end to play how I really wanted them to play but I hope it springboards us going forward.”
For Western, Ingram led the way with 27 points shooting 5-for-8 from beyond the arc. Coffman had 10 points. Rampini had seven points and seven rebounds. Cress finished with 11 rebounds and three blocks.
The Lions had a tough night offensively with nobody finishing in double figures scoring. Chistopher Steppe had five points and was the only Lion with more than one field goal. Jarret Hunter and Raquan Jones also finished with five points.
The Lions (4-6, 2-4) travel to Orange County on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Warriors (8-3, 3-1) host Charlottesville on Friday at 7:30 p.m.