It was only fitting that Tommy Mangrum made the first shot of the game Friday night during the Western Albemarle boys basketball team’s Jefferson District showdown with Charlottesville.
The senior forward scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in his final regular season home game for the Warriors during a 67-43 win over the Black Knights. The victory helped Western avenge an earlier loss to Charlottesville and kept the Warriors in the hunt for the regular season district title.
Motivated by Tuesday’s home loss to Louisa County, Western Albemarle (16-5, 9-3) went to work early.
Mangrum scored 10 points in the first nine minutes of the game, including a steal and dunk to end the first quarter, as the Warriors built a 20-10 lead with 7:10 left in the half and set the tone early on.
“We hated to lose that game Tuesday and we really made sure that this game we bounced back and turned that negative into a positive and learn from our mistakes,” Mangrum said. “I think we did that. We played well as a team and hopefully we can keep this up going forward.”
With leading scorer Zymir Faulkner out of the lineup because of an injury, Charlottesville coach Mitch Minor needed someone else to pick up the slack offensively. Christian Stewart-Carter filled the void with 12 points in the quarter, including back-to-back 3-point plays. Isaiah Washington added six more to trim the WAHS lead to 28-26 with 2:09 left in the half.
The Warriors regained the momentum just before halftime as Riley Prichard closed the quarter with three straight points to give his team a 31-28 lead at intermission.
“We really wanted to make sure we jumped out early and were efficient and effective,” Mangrum said. “In the first half, we’d get the lead and let them come back. In the second half, we knew we wanted to make a stop. We did that, we played really well on both ends. Coach is really proud of us and personally, I’m really proud of the team.”
The Black Knights (17-3, 8-3) opened the third on a high note when Khishon Gray buried a 3-pointer from the right wing to tie the game at 31-31. That’s when Western Albemarle heated up from the perimeter.
Coach Darren Maynard’s team went on a 26-6 run. Josh Sime led the charge with eight points and Mangrum turned a blocked shot on a 3-pointer into a layup as the Warriors led 57-37 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, as the Warriors stretched the lead to as many as 30 points with 2:24 left in the game en route to the win.
Stewart-Carter paced Charlottesville with 15 points in the loss. Isaiah Washington added 10 more and Gray added seven off the bench.
The Black Knights wrap up their district schedule on Tuesday, when they host Louisa County. That game should have massive implications for seeding in the district tournament later in the week.
Sime scored a career-high 16 points and was a force on the glass at both ends of the floor. Andrew Shifflett added nine points, while Henry Sullivan and Prichard both contributed seven points.
Western Albemarle completed its district slate and will travel to Wilson Memorial on Monday to close out the regular season.
Mangrum was all smiles after the game.
“It’s a great moment,” he said. “Charlottesville’s a great team and we knew that this night, looking at it from the beginning of the year was going to be a tough one. We’ve all been looking forward to this moment, especially [seniors] me, Riley [Prichard] and Angelo Garano], so coming out here and getting this win is something special that I won’t forget.”