One of basketball’s most widely-accepted conventions is that no matter how the first two meetings went, it’s really difficult to beat the same opponent three times.
Charlottesville found that out Friday night, locked in a 41-41 tie early in the fourth quarter with visiting Orange County, before a late three-point barrage allowed them to pull away late in a 68-50 victory, sending the Black Knights into the Jefferson District semifinals.
Charlottesville, which beat Orange by double digits in each of their regular-season meetings got a combined 45 points from Zymir Faulkner and Jake Bowling in the victory. It was the third game in as many days for both teams, who met on the same floor on Tuesday.
“We had a real easy practice yesterday,” Charlottesville coach Mitch Minor said. “Mainly just shooting around and getting ready for tonight. Zymir got us in the game, he made some clutch threes for us. He had to facilitate tonight.”
Bowling, who had 21, hit three of his seven threes during a 12-2 spurt over two minutes in the fourth, giving the Black Knights a double-digit lead for the first time at 53-43 with just over five minutes to play.
That came after Orange had reeled off a 7-0 spurt of its own thanks to a three from Sihle Mtethwa, a basket from Jaylen Alexander, and then another by Mtethwa to tie the game for the first time since it was 8-8 in the early going.
Kyrie Carter scored to stop the bleeding for Orange on the next possession, but Faulkner sank a three of his own to get the lead back to double digits, where it stayed for the rest of the game.
Playing without starting point guard Nic Motley and facing Orange’s 2-3 zone, CHS hit 13 treys on the evening, six of them in the final quarter.
“We were sort of limited on offense tonight with Nic not playing. We got some good looks and have a couple guys who can knock the three down,” Minor said. “Once they get in a rhythm, it’s really tough to stop them.
Bowling also hit a three at the halftime buzzer, giving the Black Knights a 33-27 lead at the break and a much-needed momentum boost. They started the game on an 8-3 run, but 10 first-half points from Carter kept the Hornets in the game, and Orange kept it within five until Bowling’s buzzer-beater.
Carter scored 21 to lead the Hornets, while Mtethwa chipped in 10.
CHS next faces Louisa County in the semifinals on Monday night. Orange will await its regional playoff fate.