By Bryan Rothamel / FlucoBlog.com
WINCHESTER — The Fluvanna boys’ basketball team fell to a hot shooting John Handley team, 82-69 in the Region II Div. 3 quarterfinals on Tuesday.
“Tonight we played the best all year, but they just had a couple of weapons we couldn’t answer. You got to tip your hat to Handley, they played a great game. But I got to tip my hat to my kids because they played as hard as they possibly could,” said Fluvanna coach Munro Rateau.
The Judges came out hot behind the sharpshooting of Jacob Rudolph. The senior hit his first three shots — all 3-pointers— within the first minute and a half of play.
“The first quarter, I thought we hit some shots we normally don’t make,” said Handley coach Tommy Dixon. “The kid was in rhythm, he did a good job putting them down. It opened a few things for us down inside.”
The Flucos weren’t going to be completely outdone. Jefferson District player of the year Vinny Agee also had a hot first quarter. The sophomore scored 16 of Fluvanna’s 18 first quarter points. Still, Handley led 24-18 after the first frame.
The second frame was better paced for FCHS. The combination of poor shooting for JHHS, good boxing out by Fluvanna and some foul trouble for the Judges let Fluvanna get its only lead of the game.
The Flucos attacked the rim on the break, leading to fouls and baskets in the paint. Trailing 32-29, senior Dashon Tibbs made two buckets in the key to get the lone Fluco advantage with 3:36 left in the first half.
“I give a lot of credit to Fluvanna. They did a great job of changing the way the game was being played,” said Dixon.
Handley wing Darion Robinson and big man Cameron Jackson quickly scored seven straight points to give Handley the lead for good with 1:50 left in the half.
The third quarter was all John Handley. The Judges outscored Fluvanna 25-13 and took a commanding 65-52 lead heading into the final frame.
This loss ends the season for the Flucos at 19-6 (7-3 Jefferson District).
“It’s been a great season for these guys because wasn’t a lot expected out of them but I think they played as a team and that’s why we were successful. It is a great group of kids. They worked hard, did exactly what we asked them to do. I couldn’t be more proud,” said Rateau.