How did Fluvanna County pull away late against Monticello? It was pretty simple.
“I just think Jalen (Harrison) took over the game there in the last four minutes,” said Fluvanna coach Munro Rateau. “Whether it was handling the ball for us or catching the ball around the basket and scoring. I think he was deserving of first team all-district and I think he showed why tonight.”
The numbers certainly told that story as Fluvanna picked up a 65-55 victory over the Mustangs in the Jefferson District semifinals that in all likelihood secured a Region II playoff berth for the Flucos. Harrison scored 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and went 4 of 5 from the free throw line in the frame to secure the win.
“I just wanted to go out there and play confidently and so did my team because we didn’t want this to — possibly — be the last game of our season,” Harrison said.
Harrison, who had seven rebounds, got a lot of help from classmate Vinny Agee too, who scored 12 of his 24 in the final quarter and had a huge night on the glass with 12 total rebounds. Agee had four 3-pointers, including one to kickstart the Flucos move ahead in the fourth.
“With his length, he uses it really well,” Harrison said. “He knows how to maneuver his way through and get all kinds of rebounds and score.”
With the two sophomores firing on all cylinders, Monticello needed to be able to answer shot for shot but the Mustangs struggled around the basket, missing lay-in after lay-in on putbacks and fastbreak. A pair of fourth quarter blocks by Dashon Tibbs didn’t help the Mustangs’ cause either. Tibbs also hauled in seven rebounds.
Monticello did get 21 points from Jhalil Mosley and 14 from Jahvon Shelton, but missed opportunities and turnovers cost the Mustangs, particularly down the stretch as Fluvanna pulled away.
Monticello needs a little help to get into the Region II tournament. If Kettle Run knocks off Warren County tonight, the Mustangs will get in. Fluvanna, the two time defending region champions are solidly into the field at this point.
Fluvanna will face Western Albemarle in the final at Fluvanna at 7:30 p.m. Friday.