Fluco basketball season will be “a real dogfight”

Rateau notes that “it will be hard to replace the best player in Region II.” Ya Ya Anderson, who has moved on to Division I play for Radford University, was Jefferson District and Region II player of the year each of the last two years. He and forecourt starters Jake Smith and Taylor Lintecom have graduated. Senior Blake Hills who started last year, will miss this season due to a football injury.

Despite these facts, other Jefferson District coaches are probably not feeling sorry for Rateau. Sophomore Vinnie Agee who is the only returning starter from last season, was an impressive contributor last season at the state play-offs level as a freshman. He was the Flucos second leading scorer last year. Another sophomore, Jalen Harrison, is big and athletic, and also contributed in a significant way last season as the first forecourt player off the bench. He made first team All-Jefferson District in football this year as a tight end. He was very adept at leaping up and taking passes away from defenders, a skill that translates to rebounding.

Rateau expects two seniors Tre’vonne Bradley and Brad Bullock to step up and make bigger contributions as they get substantially increased playing time this season. Rateau notes that Bullock is probably the team’s best defender. Bradley is probably the team’s tallest player. Another senior who will play an important role is newcomer Dashon Tibbs. He transferred into Fluvanna this year and became the starting quarterback on the Fluco football team. Rateau notes that Tibbs will provide a high level of athleticism to the Fluco squad.

The Fluco back court will be handled in large part by junior Dorian Butler and sophomore RyQuane Washington. Butler was an important reserve last season as a sophomore, but missed a number of games due to injury. Washington has a lot of speed. He was All-Jefferson District second team in football, as a return specialist. He is moving up from the junior varsity team.

While Rateau notes that this years’ squad will be young and comparatively inexperienced, this is a team with some quality players that should be able to make some noise in the Jefferson District, especially once the players get comfortable with each other.

Sophomores, Agee and Harrison will probably lead the way. However, Rateau expects that this team will have much more balanced scoring than was the case, when Anderson was piling up points the past two seasons. Rateau notes that this team may “have four players in double figures on a regular basis.”

This team may actually be bigger, or a least taller than the teams the Flucos fielded the past two years. Bradley, Agee and Harrison give the team a little more height across the front line, but all three are lean and not bulky, so the Flucos will have to be careful not to let other teams push them around. This squad will have good team speed and may be better at the pressing defense that Rateau often springs on his opponents.

The Fluco begin the regular season with a game on Nov. 27 at Spotsylvania High School. Their first scheduled home game, at the new gym is Dec. 1 against Goochland. This game could be postponed, as Goochland is still involved in regional football play-offs. On Dec. 2, the Flucos are scheduled to host a rare Saturday game, with a start time of approximately 6:30 p.m. against Liberty-Bealton. Jefferson District play does not start until Dec. 21.

Rateau said that he expects the Jefferson District to be “a real dogfight” this year. He cited Monticello High School as the probable favorite.

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