PALMYRA — Teams have tried to slow down Monticello before this year. But not with this kind of deliberateness. Not with that kind of extreme commitment.
“Not to that degree,” said Monticello coach Josh McElheny. “But not to the degreee of basically not shooting for three quarters.”
A week after Monticello blew them out, Fluvanna County held the ball for long stretches with a delay-game set intended to limit the Mustangs’ possessions and give Fluvanna a chance to steal the Jefferson District semifinal contest late. The strategy worked to an extent, but Monticello held off the late rally to win 40-30.
Clearly though, Fluvanna’s disruptive approach had its intended effect.
“We got a little frustrated, we had to play defense for long periods of time,” McElheny said. “(Then) we rushed it on the offensive end because we felt like we hadn’t shot all night. It definitely took us out of rhythm.”
Fluvanna coaches Chad White and Nick Ward hatched the scheme separately but simultaneously, and drew on the college game’s ultimate delay set, UNC legend Dean Smith’s four corners, installing it this week.
“(Ward) gives me a call and says ‘you know what I’m thinking? We should slow it down’,” White said. “It was so funny because I’m already up on YouTube pulling up (former UNC point guard) Phil Ford, 1979 highlights of Carolina when they ran it.”
The Flucos couldn’t get enough scoring down the stretch to overcome a 19-4 hole at the half, but did draw within nine points with just under two minutes to play.
“We figured if we could keep it in striking distance but then we had some early turnovers, but that’s just because it’s new,” White said. “It still kept us in it, and then (than plan was that) we just turn it on and see what happens.”
Meghan Comer’s efficiency led the way for the Mustangs as she kept the Flucos’ plan from coming full circle. The sophomore sharpshooter didn’t get many opportunities but she capitalized when she did, with 11 of Monticello’s 40 points on the night. Bridget Holleran chipped in seven for the Mustangs.
Katie Stutz’s eight points led Fluvanna while Ashleigh Harris scored seven. Harris had to handle a lot on the night as the point guard orchestrated the delay game on the offensive end.
Fluvanna next prepares to for the Region II Div. 3 tournament. Seedings and match-ups will be announce this weekend once all district tournaments are complete. Fluvanna should get the third bid from the Jefferson District with Monticello and Western Albemarle getting the first two.