Flucos get bumped from Region 3C basketball playoffs

By Duncan Nixon

It seemed like déjà vu. The Fluco boys were knocked out of the Jefferson District playoffs in a game in which they fell behind early,  but came storming back only to fall short in the end. On Feb. 21, the third seeded Flucos hosted the fifth seeded Black Knights from Charlottesville in a quarter finals game in the Region 3C play-offs. These archrivals had split their two regular season contests.

The first quarter of the game was a disaster for the Flucos. None of their shots would fall and the Black Knights scored some easy baskets. The quarter ended with the Flucos trailing 20-5. The Flucos made only one basket and three free throws in the quarter. In the second quarter, the Flucos were a little more successful on offense, but were unable to cut into the 15-point margin. Both teams scored 13 points for a half time score of 33-18. Five different Flucos scored in the quarter, with no one making more than four.

In the third quarter, the Flucos came alive. Senior guard Lance Bruce nailed a three point shot and scored ten in the quarter, while senior guard Bobbie Gardner scored three baskets and three free throws for nine. Senior guard Tyler Coleman pitched in with five, including a three-pointer. The Flucos outscored the Black Knights 26-13 to cut the lead to two, 46-44, heading into the final stanza.

Charlottesville scored the first four points of the fourth quarter. The Flucos battled in the fourth quarter, but they were never able to close the gap completely. With time running down, and the Black Knights up by only two, there was a wild scramble for a loose ball at mid-court. The officials could definitely have called a foul on the Black Knights, but did not. Charlottesville came up with the ball and quickly scored for a four point lead with only three seconds remaining. A last second three-pointer by the Flucos resulted in a final score 59-58 in favor of the Black Knights. As Coach Heath Bralley noted after the game, a foul call would have sent the Flucos to the line for two free throws that could have tied the game. But it was not to be, and it is true that the officials had been letting the players play all game.

As has been the case in most of the Flucos’ games this season, senior guards Bruce and Gardner led the team in scoring. Bruce had 19 and Gardner contributed 17. As has often been the case this season, the Flucos’ ball hawking defense put up some good statistics. They led the Black Knights in deflections by 12-6 and they similarly led in steals 11-5. Unfortunately, in the category of three-point shooting, they had a decidedly off-night sinking only 4 of 22 from long range.

Because the playoffs are win or go home, the Flucos’ season is now over. Coach Bralley said an emotional goodbye to his senior players. The Flucos will have to find some scoring next year, as this was a senior dominated team. The Flucos’ final record was a very respectable 16-8. 

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