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Back To Richmond
Back to Richmond
YaYa Anderson needed 47 last time he came to James Madison University’s Convocation Center to help Fluvanna County escape and advance to the state semifinals in Richmond.
This time he brought a few more friends.
“I have a little more confidence in my teammates this year because I know we’re going to knock the shots down,” Anderson said. “I know they’re going to hit the big shots.”
Those teammates did just that. Fluvanna pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 75-58 Friday night in the Group AA, Division 3 quarterfinals. Anderson finished with 25 to lead the Flucos, but he got help from a trio of double digit scorers led by freshman Vinny Agee’s 19.
Agee scored six of those 19 during Fluvanna’s high-octane start to the final frame. The Flucos reeled off a 10-2 spurt to open the fourth as a depleted James Monroe squad seemed to run out of gas. The Jackets were missing three of their top six players, two due to disciplinary reasons, another due to a non-basketball injury.
“All week long we talked about being excited to be in this situation — that’s the first time in 40 years that James Monroe has been in a state quarterfinal game,” said James Monroe coach Antonio Coghill. “We played mostly six people tonight…but these guys came out and played…I’m so proud of these guys.”
Unlike the Jackets, Fluvanna got stronger down the stretch. The Flucos seemed to snag every rebound and knock down every point blank shot in the fourth. It was Agee’s play at the top of the zone though — a hallmark of Fluvanna’s strategy in many of the big games the Flucos won during the regular season — that turned the tide.
“Defensively in the third and fourth quarter I thought Vinny made some tremendous steals — we had to find a way to get him on top of their offense so he could get his long arms out there,” said Fluvanna coach Munro Rateau. “I think that changed the momentum of the game.”
Senior Jake Smith chipped in 12 including a couple of fourth quarter buckets while Lintecum finished with 10 on the night, six of them in the final quarter.
Those offensive performances were crucial as Anderson drew a double team or quick trap most of the second half and finished with just 10 points after a 15-point explosion in the first quarter. Smith and Agee carried the load for the Flucos in the second quarter with Anderson tethered to the bench with a pair of personal fouls. Agee had seven during the stretch and Smith scored six, hitting all three buckets back-to-back-to-back in a flurry.
“It’s been awhile (since he scored six straight),” Smith said. “I was sinking to the ball and (Agee) was driving baseline and the rebound came to me every time, luckily I was able to get the putback.”
Smith spearheaded a strong defensive effort down low for the Flucos too, helping hold James Monroe’s huge forward Te’Quan Alers to just four points in the second half. Alers dominated inside during the first half and went for 13 points, but with a collapsing zone from Fluvanna kicking into high gear after the break, the Jackets had to look elsewhere for offense.
“I enjoy going up against someone who is a little bigger than me,” Smith said. “I was looking forward to tonight, he was on my mind the whole way to the game and my main goal was to box him out and get him away from the ball as best I could.”
Julian Bumbrey led James Monroe with 17 points on the night, including an eight-point third that helped the Jackets take their narrow lead near the end of the frame.
Fluvanna was rock solid at the line, knocking down 19 of 25 free throws, which never allowed the Jackets to claw back late in the fourth.
The Flucos will clash with Cave Spring in the Group AA, Division 3 semifinals Tuesday at 1 p.m. at VCU’s Siegel Center.
For Anderson, it was something of a relief to be able to spread the wealth and get everyone involved instead of dominating possession as he did in last year’s 47-point outing against Culpeper. Rateau, on the other hand, was already looking ahead.
“I hope he’s saving that,” Rateau said.