Pull Through: Charlottesville survives Western to stay undefeated

Photo by Anna Isley

When a team is undefeated, every game becomes a circle on your opponents’ calendar.


The undefeated Charlottesville girls found themselves in a grueling battle at home with Western Albemarle Friday night, and the Warriors did all they could to hand the Black Knights their first loss of the season.


Poise down the stretch, made free throws, and a fiery third-quarter from sophomore guard Avery Stavitski pulled the Black Knights ahead to hold on for a 46-40 win and their thirteenth of the season.


“The emphasis was that we needed to push and play our game,” Staviksi said. “We pulled through.”


The Black Knights raced out to a 14-8 lead in the 1st. Senior Rayquel Allen scored six in the period, and Staviski knocked down a deep three from the top of the key to give the Black Knights some advantage.


The visiting Warriors locked down defensively in the second quarter, holding Charlottesville to three points. Caroline Centofante scored six points of her own in the quarter, and Western found themselves up 21-17 at the half.


“I don’t think we minded our shot chart,” Charlottesville coach Jim Daly said about the first half. “I think we took open threes, I think we got to the rim. Part of that’s Western, they’re so disciplined, so well-coached, there was always hands around the ball when you drive, there’s not any easy buckets, in a game against Western Albemarle, there hasn’t been for a decade. I thought our girls looked poised the whole time, we knew at some point, we are gonna get that steal, we were gonna knock down some threes.”


Daly’s team responded in a huge way in the 3rd quarter. After a Warriors run put Western up 27-19, Staviski nailed back to back threes to cut the Western Albemarle lead back down to two. Ava Ewen nailed a left corner three to put Western back up five, but Staviski promptly nailed a third to ignite the raucous Charlottesville home crowd. Emma Schmitz scored another six in the period for Western, but Elaina Pierce and Makiaya Brown nailed threes of their own to make it 35-33 in favor of the Warriors heading into the final period.


“Our success in the third was just focusing on what we do well,” Daly said. “All the small stuff, we took better care of the ball, taking better shots. We had some huge boxouts at the end.”

Though Staviski cooled off from deep in the fourth, she made a massive fast break bucket to give Charlottesville their first lead of the game early in the fourth. Kayla Drumheller scored a pair of inside buckets, and Pierce grabbed a huge offensive board off of a miss to draw a foul of her own and nail both free throws to give Charlottesville their largest advantage of the game. The Black Knights made enough free throws in the fourth to hold on for their six point win.


Staviski scored a game-high 18 points in the contest. Allen added 11, and Drumheller had eight. For the Warriors, Emma Schmitz had 13. Centofante added seven.


The win puts Charlottesville (13-0) comfortably two games ahead of second place Western (8-4) in the district standings. The Black Knights host Louisa County in their next game next Tuesday, while Western travels to Goochland on the same night.