The Shenandoah District Champion Fort Defiance boys had no answer for Fluvanna’s Xavier Copeland in the first half in the Region 3C Quarterfinals Monday night. Copeland scored nine first quarter points with numerous hustle plays, boards, and blocks to help the Flucos surge to a 25-11 lead. That huge early advantage helped to propel the fifth-seeded Flucos to a 65-41 win and a matchup with Liberty Christian Academy in the region semifinals Wednesday night.
“He’s flipped a switch here in the last two or three weeks.” said Fluvanna head coach Heath Bralley. “He’s playing with a level of intensity and energy that I haven’t seen in a very long time. It sets the tone for us and it’s something we really really needed as a team to kind of get everybody’s motor running consistently.”
The Flucos rushed out to a 10-0 lead, with two Copeland paint buckets sandwiched between Maurice D’Alessandro and Kobe Edmonds threes. Fort Defiance, however, clamped down on defense in the 2nd and sophomore Tyreek Veney single-handedly kept the Indians in the game. He scored numerous nifty buckets in the paint and anchored the defense to hold the red-hot Flucos to five second quarter points and trim the lead to 30-26 at the half.
D’Alessandro came out of the gates on fire in the third after a rough first half. The junior nailed three deep threes in a row to put Fluvanna up 39-30, prompting an Indians timeout.
“I didn’t want to get down on myself.” D’Alessandro said. “Shooters always keep shooting. Coach told me to keep letting it fly and they were giving me a lot of space, I think because of the rusty first half.”
D’Alessandro made the Indians pay, scoring 11 points in the 3rd. Fluvanna also held the Indians to seven and eight points in the third and fourth respectively to help put the game away. Veney, who scored 13 in the first half, was held scoreless in the second. Fluvanna led 48-33 after 3.
“We kind of let our offense dictate our defense.” Bralley said. “Our offense was really clicking in the first quarter, and we played really good defense. Our offense wasn’t working as smoothly in the 2nd quarter, and that caused our defensive intensity to drop. So, consistency on defense, offense will come.”
D’Alessandro added another deep three, and Copeland slammed home back to back fast break buckets to prompt the Fluvanna reserves entering the game in the fourth. D’Alessandro’s huge second half pushed him to a game-high 19 points. Copeland added 17 and Kobe Edmonds notched 11.
Fluvanna moves on to the Region 3C semifinals, where they travel to Seminole District Champion Liberty Christian. The Bulldogs downed Turner Ashby 80-54 Monday night.