Charlottesville Girls Knock Off Powhatan In JD Semis

Charlottesville girls knock off Powhatan in JD semis

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By Allen Kha / contributor

With a shade less than five seconds remaining in the game, trailing by a point, Charlottesville’s lead guard Tamara Starchia forced a Powhatan back-court violation to secure a potential game-winning possession against the Jefferson District regular-season champions.

On the ensuing possession, Kendall Ballard grabbed a nearly-errant pass from Monique Perkins, adjusted in mid-air, and made the game-winning shot to propel the Charlottesville Lady Knights to a 52-51 victory and a trip to the Jefferson District tournament finals.

So Charlottesville coach Dee Mitchelson thought.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride of a season,” Mitchelson-Shaver said. “So the ending of the game was somewhat fitting, with a young team like ours growing up to this point.”

After freshman Ballard scored the winning basket, Starchia, while trying to defend near the sideline, fouled Powhatan’s Hannah Livermon -- the Jefferson District player of the year -- before Livermon crossed half-court on the ensuing inbounds play.

Livermon missed the front end of the ensuing one-and-one, sealing a gut-wrenching win for the Lady Knights, who were seeded fourth in the tournament.

“The play was designed to feed the ball to Sydney [Calloway] inside. Obviously that did not work out and I just got the ball and shot it... I was so nervous,” Ballard said. “And then [Tamara] fouled [Livermon], although there wasn’t much contact, that was really tough. Luckily we still came out with the victory, because we didn’t want tonight to be our last game. We have so much energy and we’re ready.”

After a back-and-forth first quarter that saw Charlottesville end with a slight 14-10 lead, the Lady Knights went on a 7-2 run in the middle of the second quarter to enter the second half with a 32-21 lead.

Powhatan, however, rode freshman guard Montiera Johnson’s hot hand and battled back with an 11-0 run of its own to open the third quarter, tying the game at 32 with 4:45 remaining in the third stanza.

“After halftime, we came out and it was foul, turnover, turnover,” Mitchelson-Shaver said. “They dropped into a 2-3 defense, and we weren’t patient at first. We just had to be patient with the ball, like we were in the first half.”

Charlottesville and the Indians matched each other point-for-point in the fourth quarter, before the frantic finish.

With the victory, the Black Knights will play Monticello in the Jefferson District Championship game Friday evening, with a potential Regional berth (as Jefferson District tournament champions) on the line.

“This season has been tough with our play at the end of the season, but it’s a new opportunity and we’re ready for it,” Mitchelson said.


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