“That was a great win for us. Great win,” said FCHS head coach Munro Rateau.
The Flucos were still finding their way early, trailing 14-11 after the first frame. That all change quickly in the second quarter.
Dashon Tibs started the fun with a basket 50 seconds into the frame. Then it was followed up a minute later with Dorian Butler finding the basket in traffic. After a Vinny Agee free throw, Jalen Harrison stole an errant MHS pass, raced down the court and flushed down a dunk.
“The key tonight was we ran our offense and got the shots where we wanted to. That was a big key for us. We finally stayed in our offense long enough to get shots that we wanted to,” said Rateau.
Monticello would score its only basket of the quarter halfway through then Agee followed it up with back-to-back 3-pointers. Fluvanna outscored the Mustangs 17-3 in the quarter and would not trail the rest of the way.
“We just ran our offense really well as coach drills in practice. We just practice it a lot, it worked for us,” said Harrison.
Even though FCHS would lead from the 6:10 mark in the second quarter to buzzer, the game did get close a few times. In the fourth quarter, MHS used back to back 3-pointers of their own to cut the lead to 46-42 before FCHS tried to stretch it out again.
The Mustangs would cut it again to four at 52-48 with 2:30 left but the gap wouldn’t narrow any further.
“Our defense changed. We went to a 2-3 [zone] and the rest of the team really got out on shooters tonight. They started to make a run late but I think we made a good adjustment,” said Agee.
The Flucos showed a new wrinkle, deciding before the game to go to a 2-3 zone that slowed Monticello’s offense and put Fluvanna in position for rebounds. FCHS pulled down 31 team rebounds.
“The key was to get rebounds so we could play on offense. We had to choose the tempo. If you get the rebounds, you get to push it,” said Tibbs.
Rateau said, “I thought we battled harder on the boards than we had all year.”
FCHS was led by Agee with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Harrison finished with 19 points and five rebounds while Tibbs grabbed nine rebounds with his eight points. Treyvonne Bradley had seven points while Butler dished out seven assists.
Next up for the Flucos (9-2, 1-1 Jefferson District) is district rival Charlottesville. The Black Knights are coming off of a loss to Western Albemarle on Thursday night. This will be the eighth meeting since Dec. 2010 for these teams. Last time they met FCHS won in a thrilling Region II Div. 3 semifinal for a second straight state playoff berth.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 in Palmyra.