With a steady back-and-forth to start, it looked like the meeting between St. Anne’s-Belfield and Charlottesville would be a track meet. But with the Saints holding the Black Knights to just six points in the second quarter, Charlottesville quickly found themselves in a hole. With STAB still in a groove in the third, a fourth quarter comeback just wasn’t in the cards and the Saints picked up a 64-49 win.
“We played last on December 16 with a few practices but really just here and there so we expected to be rusty,” said STAB coach Brian Kent. “I think the big second quarter, just giving up the six points, the 19-2 run, that was just huge for us.”
It was a 1-point game going into the second quarter with the Saints leading, and to start the second, the Black Knights took a 15-14 lead behind the play of Khalil Vest. But what ensued from there was a 19-2 run over a six minute span that saw STAB go up 33-17 with four different players scoring four or more points, including seven from Jayden Nixon. The Saints took a 35-19 lead into the break as Charlottesville had just two field goals and shot 2-for-13 from the free throw line.
“We missed (our) free throws and didn’t capitalize on some layups,” said Black Knights coach Mitch Minor. “They pushed the ball and got some easy shots because we didn’t get back on defense a couple of times… we just couldn’t catch up after that.”
In the third, while things were more even overall, STAB still padded its lead with Nixon dominating the paint and pouring in nine points to lead the way during that frame. Of course that was a welcome surprise as Nixon returned to the team from the holiday break just before the game.
“We had practice yesterday and so when I got back it was great to see everyone seemed like they were in motion, going through the plays well and in tune,” Nixon said.
Charlottesville played its best in the fourth as the Saints look to run out the last eight minutes with a heavy bench rotation and a 22-point lead. The Black Knights were able to get as close to 13 points of the lead midway through the frame, with Sam Neale helping out with a pair of steals and buckets and a Patrick Ronayne 3-pointer. However, there was simply not enough clock and with Nic Kent stepping up offensively, the Saints were able to close the game from there.
“Nic’s always been a facilitator for us but we’ve kind of been telling him, ‘Hey, we’re going to need you to score too,’ so he really improved for us there with his work this summer,” Nixon said. “It’s definitely showing.”
On the night, Nixon led the way with his 22 points. Kent and Mesiah Woods each had 10. Matt Palumbo finished with seven.
For the Black Knights, Vest had 22 as well including a 10-point third quarter. Immanuel Wells finished with 10 points.
Charlottesville (8-3) will face Monticello (4-6) on Wednesday at 4:45 while St. Anne’s (3-3) will play West Potomac (7-1) on Wednesday at 8:15 with both games held at Albemarle.