Madison County didn’t hit many three-pointers Thursday night on the road in Fluvanna.
But it was their last one that was the only one that mattered.
Khalid West buried a 25-footer at the buzzer to lift the Mountaineers over the Flucos 56-53, capping a wild finish that included a pair of technical fouls between the teams.
West’s shot came after Drew Pace tied things up with 15 seconds to go on a three from the left corner. Madison coach Ben Breeden called timeout when his team got the ball into the frontcourt with about six seconds left on the clock.
“We were gonna try to get the ball to [Gaines] in the corner but they took it away,” Breeden said. “Luckily Khalid was there to make the play. I thought Fluvanna did a good job sticking with the game, and that we battled well, just good effort all around.”
With Swink, whose 22 points led Madison, blanketed by white jerseys, West got the shot off just before the buzzer, celebrating madly on the floor as it dropped through the net.
“The first look was Gaines, but I saw they were all over him,” West said. “We had only two seconds left, so I had to shoot, and I’m just grateful it went in.”
The Mountaineers (3-2) held Fluvanna scoreless over five minutes in the fourth quarter following a 9-0 Fluvanna run. Kobe Edmonds, who poured in a game-high 27 points, converted an and-one to punctuate the burst with 5:50 to play before his team went cold.
Swink led a 14-for-18 Madison effort at the line in the final quarter. In fact, Madison went the final 5:30 without a field goal of its own until West’s shot. Swink drew a blocking foul and following a Fluco technical for disputing the call, made three of four shots for a 48-46 lead with 1:47 to go.
With his team ahead by five a minute later, West was whistled for a technical of his own for reaching over the end line on the inbounds play and Edmonds sunk both freebies, then a Pace putback on the next Fluco possession pulled Fluvanna (1-3) within one.
“It’s our run and jump to try and get them to play a little faster,” Breeden said. “Edmonds can play fast, but we were trying to break their rhythm and make them get off quick shots.”
Madison led 25-24 after a first half that they led nearly wire to wire–the margin was as large as six in the opening minutes, but the Flucos actually led after one quarter as Edmonds was fouled trying to beat the buzzer and made all three shots for a 16-15 advantage.
Swink gave Madison the lead back on the first possession of the second quarter with an old-fashioned three-point play, and the Mountaineers’ 2-3 zone flummoxed Fluvanna into seven first-half turnovers. This made up for cold shooting from the perimeter–Swink scored the first basket of the game with a three, but Madison missed its next nine treys to close out the half.
“A lot of times when they drove we cut them off,” Pace said. “We played really good help-side defense. In games like this you definitely grow as a team, building relationships and bonds.”
Edmonds gave Fluvanna another momentary lead with 1:42 to play on a free throw, but Elijah Lewis answered for the Mountaineers to give them the lead at the break.
Madison promptly misfired on its first six threes of the second half as Fluvanna built a six-point lead on back-to-back buckets by Edmonds with 1:20 to go in the third, but Swink finally hit a trey and Dean Breeden swished a 13-footer at the buzzer to pull Madison within one at 37-36 after three.
Elijah Lewis added 13 and William Graves 11 for Madison, which finished 4-for-22 from beyond the arc. In addition to Edmonds’ output, Pace had 11 for the Flucos.