Fluco girls top Orange, boys fall to Orange in OT

By Duncan Nixon

This is what high school sports is all about. Two varsity basketball games played back-to-back with maximum intensity and close results. Usually, when the varsity boys are at home, the girls are away and vice versa. On Jan. 14 the Fluco girls’ varsity hosted the Orange County varsity at 6 p.m. and the Fluco boys hosted the Orange County varsity at 7:30 p.m. The Fluco girls under Coach Nick Ward jumped to an early lead and stubbornly fought off every push by the Hornets to close the gap. The girls won 61-50 to up their record to 7-3. In the second game, Orange County came in with a 9-1 record. If they expected the Flucos to roll over and bow to their outstanding record, they were wildly off base.

In the first quarter, the Fluco boys opened with a 14-2 run to put the Hornets on notice that they were in for a fight. Back-to-back three-point baskets by Fluco stand-out guards Bobby Gardner, a junior, and Kobe Edmonds, a senior, provided the heart of the 14-2 run. Edmonds had two threes in the quarter and senior Grant Brown contribute three points. However, as Fluco Coach Heath Bralley noted, “neither team was about to give in.” Orange County responded with a twelve-point run and the first quarter ended 14-14.

In the second quarter, it looked like there was a lid on the baskets at both ends of the court. The defense was intense and neither team put many points on the board. Lance Bruce had a three-point basket for the Flucos, but Orange won the quarter 9-8, and took a 23-22 lead at the half.

In the third quarter, Edmonds started to get into high gear for the Flucos, scoring nine in the quarter and leading the Flucos to a three point advantage of 42-39 going into the final quarter. Forward Blaise Silverman sank one of the Flucos’ seven three point baskets in the game.

The fourth quarter started with a nice steal by Gardner and a feed to Edmonds for an easy lay-in. However, Orange would not go away and the Flucos could not boost their lead above five points. With three minutes left in regulation, the Hornets managed to tie the score at 51-51. From that point on it was mostly free throws, with both teams doing pretty well at the line. Orange led by 61-59 with 43 seconds remaining, but Edmonds took a rebound and dribbled the length of the court scoring on a difficult twisting lay-in to tie the score. Both teams had one more chance in regulation but when the buzzer sounded the score was 61-61.

The four minute overtime started well for the Flucos. Gardner scored on a driving lay-up and Edmonds converted three of four from the foul line for a five point lead. Unfortunately, the Hornets outscored the Flucos 10-2 the rest of the way to win 71-68. 

Before the season started Coach Bralley noted that although the Flucos don’t have a lot of height they are very quick. He was not exaggerating. Orange, however, was also very quick and a little bigger and stronger. There were a lot of turnovers in the game as the Flucos went with a tight man to man defense and the Hornets utilized a three-quarter court zone press for most of the game that gave the Flucos some problems. The Flucos were supported by a large and noisy crowd. Edmonds had a very impressive game for the Flucos, scoring 33 points, almost half his team’s points, with 25 coming in the second half and overtime. Gardner contributed 14 and Bruce had seven.

 In the girl’s game, the Flucos had a very balanced attack. Four juniors scored in double figures, as the Flucos won the first second and fourth quarters. Alana Carter-Johnson led the way for the girls with 19 points including two three-point baskets. Forward Tatyana Turner was very consistent scoring five in the first quarter, four in the second, two in the third and four in the fourth for a total of 15. Guard Abby Seal contributed 12, and she also made two three-pointers. Aniah Webb scored 11 with three from long range. The Flucos had a twelve point lead at the half and maintained about that margin the rest of the way, winning by eleven.

After the game, Coach Ward noted that he was pleased with Harley Kirby’s rebounding and hard-nosed play, and with Carter-Johnson’s rebounding, as well as her scoring. The Orange squad fought hard, but the Flucos were a more talented squad.

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