Fluco boys go all the way to region final; Fluco girls out early

By Duncan Nixon

The Class 3 Region C basketball play-offs concluded last week. The Fluco girls squad earned a first-round bye and were matched in the quarterfinals with the Black Knights of Charlottesville. The teams had split their regular season games, with Charlottesville winning the first encounter by three and the Flucos winning the second by five. Accordingly, it shaped up as a highly competitive contest. The Black Knights had the home court advantage, but the crowd was fairly evenly split.

The Flucos started strong but could not hold on in the final eight minutes. The Flucos managed to eke out a 17-16 lead after the first quarter. After a low scoring second quarter, the Flucos led 27-25. Play continued to be even and after three periods the Flucos still led, but only by one, 38-37. The Black Knights ran off the first six points of the fourth quarter to lead by five. Fluco junior guard Alana Carter-Johnson broke the Charlottesville run by nailing a three-point shot to cut the lead to two. Unfortunately, those three points were all the Flucos could muster in the first four minutes of the final stanza. The Black Knights scored nine in a row to take a commanding 52-41 lead with 4:11 left in the game. The Flucos could not get the margin down and Charlottesville triumphed 57-45.

Carter-Johnson led the Flucos in scoring with 17. Fellow juniors, Aniah Webb, and Tatyana Turner were next in scoring with nine each. Another junior, Abby Seal hit two threes for six. After the game, Coach Nick Ward said he was proud of how his team had played during the season and how it had overcome some injuries to key players. A final record of 14-8 year is clearly a good result. This is especially so as Ward’s core players this season were all juniors. Next year should be a good year for the Flucos.

The Fluco boys squad was more successful in the Region play-offs. They trounced Rustburg High in their first encounter, by a score of 75-50. They then matched up against a strong Wilson Memorial High team, on their court. The Flucos outlasted the Green Hornets for a 71-65 win, on Feb. 22. In this game, junior guard Bobby Gardner led the way with an impressive 32 points and 10 rebounds, and he nailed four three pointers. Kobe Edmonds added 11, as did junior guard Lance Bruce. Senior forward Blaise Silverman chipped in 10. This win put Coach Heath Bralley’s team into the semi-finals against Liberty Christian Academy on Feb. 24

Again, the Flucos were the visitors since they were the seventh and lower seed in the Region tournament. LCA was a formidable opponent, as they came into the game with a record of 19-5. The Flucos were not intimidated, and they ran to an impressive 89-77 win over the Bulldogs. Bruce put up 32 points, as the Flucos outscored  the Bulldogs 33-19 in the final quarter. Gardner had another outstanding game as he scored 25 and led in rebounds with 15. Edmonds contributed 15. This win put the Flucos in the Region final and also qualified them for the State Class 3 tournament.

In the Region final, played on Feb. 26, the Flucos were matched-up against Spotswood High Blazers team that they had played earlier in the year. In that encounter, the Flucos fell 86-84 in double overtime. The Flucos’ hopes to reverse that result were thwarted, as they were unable to get their offense going and the Spotswood High Blazers captured the Class 3 Region C title 64-49. Gardner led the Flucos in scoring with 22 and Kenyon Smith contributed 10. Unfortunately, the Blazers outscored the Flucos 34-20 in the paint.

 The Flucos now move on to the class 3 State tournament. In the first round to be played on March 4, they will travel to the Roanoke area to take on the 25-1 Cave Spring High team.  

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