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Girl's basketballThe Charlottesville Black Knights rode into town with a 17-2 record and a decisive win over Fluvanna earlier in the year under their belt. They may have expected to coast to another easy win, but they would have been wrong. The Fluco girls under Coach Chad White have been getting better and better as the year has progressed. The Black Knights were fortunate on Tuesday (Jan. 31) to eke out a four point win with a score of 56-52.

Charlottesville opened the game strong with a couple of three-point shots and several inside lay-ups. The Black Knights led early by nine points at 14-5. Late in the quarter, Fluco senior guard Chaniya Brown drained a three-point shot and freshman guard Nevaeh Ivory scored on a rebound to reduce Charlottesville’s lead to five at the end of the quarter. The Flucos also had a basket in the quarter by junior center Jemika Johnson on a clever feed from freshman guard Jules Shepherd, and a short jump shot by freshman forward Mya Wright.

The second quarter was a back and forth affair with the Black Knights, who continued to lead by four to six points. Brown led the Flucos with eight in the quarter on two three-pointers and a lay-up after a steal and a coast to coast drive. Wright and Ivory also scored baskets in the quarter. Charlottesville opened its lead to nine on a last second heave from just inside mid-court for three points. The score at the half was Charlottesville 33, Fluvanna 24.

The third quarter was all Fluvanna. Ivory opened the quarter with a three-point shot off a well-executed set play. It was the first of her three three-pointers in the quarter. The Flucos fought back throughout the quarter. With two minutes left, Wright hit a jump shot to tie the score at 37-37, and Ivory quickly followed with a three-point basket to give the Flucos a 40-37 lead. The Flucos got a free throw from Brown for a four-point lead. The quarter ended with Charlottesville nailing two free throws for a score of Fluvanna 41, Charlottesville 39.

Unfortunately for the Flucos, the Black Knights came out strong in the fourth quarter and they ran off nine straight points to jump back into the lead by seven. The Flucos were on their heels, but they fought back. As is often the case, the fourth quarter saw a lot of free throw shooting. The Flucos did miss the front end of one and ones on two occasions, but senior forward Darrah Martin and Brown both made two crucial free throws under pressure.  With a minute remaining, Ivory nailed her fourth three-pointer of the game to cut the Black Knights’ lead to one at 53-52. With 42 seconds remaining, the Black Knights converted on two free throws to take a three-point lead. The final seconds were a wild scramble as the Flucos got off a three-point shot and then rebounded and passed out for another three attempts but could not get the ball to drop. The Black Knights finally got possession and with three seconds remaining they made one of two free throws for the final four-point margin.

Ivory led the Flucos in scoring with 18, while Brown had 16. Wright and Martin each had six and Johnson five. Ivory also had eight rebounds. After the game, White was clearly pleased with the battle his team put up. He complimented Johnson for her hard play inside, as she worked hard on defense and on the boards. Also, he noted that although Shepherd did not score she handled the ball extremely well against the Black Knights’ pressure. It was a bold decision by White to move Shepherd into the starting line-up at point guard to allow Ivory to spend more time looking for her shot. The strategy worked, as Shepherd handled the ball well and Ivory led the team in scoring.
The girls played their final regular season game on Feb. 3 at Powhatan High. The District play-offs run from Feb. 6 to Feb 10. The Conference play-offs are scheduled for Feb. 14 through Feb. 17.