By Bryan Rothamel / Flucosportsnet.com
PALMYRA — The Fluvanna boys’ basketball team won the Region II Div. 3 championship again, thanks to a 64-57 victory over John Handley Saturday night.
“That’s pretty awesome in this region,” said FCHS head coach Munro Rateau of winning the region championship for the second straight year. “Our district play gets us ready to play in this situation. We are just ecstatic about winning.”
The Flucos trailed most of the game until the third quarter. The Judges came out of halftime with a 32-28 lead.
Rateau had a simple message to his crew at halftime, “Do what we do, don’t worry about what’s going on anywhere else. Don’t worry about the scoreboard, keep our composure.”
Freshman Vinny Agee, in a repeat of his third quarter explosion against Charlottesville in the region semifinals, scored six of Fluvanna’s first 11 points of the second half to close the deficit to 41-39. YaYa Anderson made a dribble-drive shot and the ensuing free throw to give Fluvanna its second lead of the game midway through the third quarter.
“We were down against Charlottesville and we knew we could fight. We have a lot of heart in our team. I really wasn’t worried because we came back from a deficit against Charlottesville at halftime. We came in, said we did it before and we could do it again. We came out and did it,” said Anderson.
After trading the lead once more, FCHS took a 44-43 lead as junior Brad Bullock made a running hook shot in the zone. Handley would tie the game once more but the Flucos never gave up the lead the rest of the way.
“We are going to win with our defense,” said Rateau who only swayed from a man-to-man defense for two possessions. “We are going to score points but we’ve got to keep the other team from scoring points.”
Anderson led all scorers with 31 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Agee chipped in 15 points along with six rebounds. Taylor Lintecum had 10 points and five rebounds while Jake Smith finished with two points and five rebounds.
The win shuts down the Shoebox in grand fashion with the sixth regional championship for Fluvanna boys’ basketball, all under Rateau’s leadership. Saturday, Rateau wore a tie with navy blue, baby blue and gold; the three colors FCHS has worn since 1976.
“We are just ecstatic about winning the last night the Shoebox is open. We couldn’t have asked for a better scenario. As usual, the crowd was awesome,” said Rateau.
The Shoebox has been quite friendly to FCHS. The regional championship win pushes Fluvanna’s home record to 31-1 on the court in the past two years. John Handley was the lone team to win by defeating Fluvanna in the 2011 Christmas Bash, something Anderson and the team didn’t forget.
“We knew that was the only team we lost to in two years we had to come out with a higher intensity,” said Anderson.
Next up for the Flucos is James Monroe in the VHSL Group AA Div. 3 quarterfinals. The game will be played at the James Madison University Convocation Center. The game will be played either March 1 or 2. Exact time and date will be announced by the VHSL this upcoming week.
James Monroe is tall and athletic, two things that have given the Flucos some trouble but hasn’t broken them yet. Unlike this past week, FCHS gets at least four possible practice days before facing James Monroe.
“It is a good feeling knowing we are one of the higher seeds, that means we are one of the top teams in the state. We can’t let get to our head, we still need to come into practice everyday and work harder than we’ve ever worked,” said Anderson.