Charlottesville didn’t play perfectly by any means, but the Black Knights picked up a monster win in the first annual Scrimmage Play Winter Classic Thursday night, gutting out a 60-56 win over Norfolk Collegiate, ranked No. 5 in Virginia in the Maxpreps.com rankings.
“This win means a lot for us,” said Charlottesville’s Nasir Sumpter. “It’s a big win.”
Sumpter finished with 16 points, knocking down four 3-pointers on the night to co-lead the Black Knights in scoring with Luca Matic who also had 16, 10 of which came in the second half.
But to cash in on those two strong offensive performances, the Black Knights had to withstand a wild final quarter. Charlottesville built a 12-point lead going into the fourth, but Norfolk Collegiate refused to go quietly. The Oaks, coached by former UVa star Junior Burrough, got a big lift from Brennan Chatman in the fourth as the 2022 first team All-State selection scored nine of his 14 points in the final frame after the Black Knights’ defensive effort had led by Che Lewis largely clamped down on him for the first three quarters. Norfolk Collegiate’s defense forced a series of turnovers as Charlottesville struggled with the press.
“We just didn’t execute well there, we’ve got to do a better job of making ourselves available to get the pass,” said Charlottesville coach Mitch Minor. “I’m happy with the win, but we’ve got to do a better job.”
Each time Norfolk Christian got close though something went right for the Black Knights. In the middle of the fourth, with Norfolk Christian down five, the Oaks forced a CHS turnover. After gaining possession, they immediately threw the ball away and Aidan Yates responded with a big three for the Black Knights followed by another Yates bucket on a drive in transition. He finished with just 10 as Chatman hounded him on the offensive end, but those 10 came at some critical junctures. That short run stretched the lead back out to 10 a little more than two minutes to go and that turned out to be enough cushion for Charlottesville. Both teams also experienced a wide array of hotly-debated officiating calls.
Norfolk Christian managed to tie it with 30 seconds left, but Jacoby Lynch got fouled seconds later and the sophomore knocked down two for the Black Knights to go up 58-56. Lynch turned around on the defensive end and drew an offensive foul. Lewis then got fouled and iced the game with two more free throws. Feeding Yates also helped the Black Knights finally sort out the Oaks’ press.
“Aidan is a taller guy so we put him out in the press break so we kind of just gave the ball to Aiden and got out of the way and sometimes Jacoby too,” Minor said.
Kahlil Caple led the Oaks with 16 points while Justin Burrough finished with 14.
Charlottesville now gets a shot at Patrick Henry-Roanoke, the Class 5 state runner-ups a year ago who beat Landon School in the day’s opening game of the Scrimmage Play Winter Classic. They’ll square off in the championship game at 2:45 p.m. at Charlottesville High. Norfolk Christian will take on Landon in the consolation game at 1 p.m.