That next gear: Louisa pulls away from Fluvanna in the second

Photo: Ryan Yemen

Fluvanna County was able to weather the storm early and make things quite interesting late in the second quarter. But Louisa County was able to keep its frenetic pace on offense up for four quarters. With a huge fourth quarter on both ends of the floor, the Lions created separation and then for good measure, Louisa’s bench came in and couldn’t miss. In all, it amounted to a 100-62 win for the Lions to send them into their holiday tournament with a perfect 5-0 record.


“We knew Fluvanna would be tough early because this is a border rivalry, something that’s been going on for a long time and all the kids know each other, everyone is up for it and then there was a great turnout in the stands for both sides,” said Louisa coach Robert Shelton. “It was an important game in terms of bragging rights.”


The Lions were pretty much the same in each quarter but progressively better, scoring 24, 24, 25 and 27.  While Louisa got four different players in double figures, senior Chris Shelton picked up 14 of his 33 points in the first quarter. With some outside shooting from Xavien Hunter, the Lions went into the second quarter with a 24-16 lead.


Despite not having gritty junior guard Emory Davis available, Fluvanna played its best in the second, Kobe Edmonds, Jamal Opie and John Rittenhouse pacing the offense. The Flucos were down 31-16 but with a 23-7 run led by that trio and a 12-14 effort from the free throw line, the game was suddenly tied at 39-39 with just under two minutes until the break.


“That’s such a good team that has another gear,” Davis said. “In the walk through we talked about when they find that next gear we have to find it too. We did there for a while, but God, their next gear is really good. We wound up getting a little dead legged trying to keep up, and playing last night too doesn’t help in a hard fought game.”


The Lions would carry some momentum into halftime though with a 9-2 run to close the second and make it 48-41 heading to the third.


“I was proud of the way our guys responded,” Robert Shelton said. “It’s always good to see how the guys respond to a little adversity in an away setting. The guys had a good week in practice and we’re jelling on the floor. We still have some defensive mishaps, but we’re coming along.”


It was in the third that Louisa created real separation. While Shelton did his early damage from inside in the first, he hit a trio of three’s in the third while Hunter added a pair of his own to lead the way for a 25-15 effort that made it 73-56 going to the fourth.


“They had to play us in a zone and so it was leaving at least one of us wide open,” Hunter said. “Coach told us to keep finding the man and shoot. We just kept hitting them.”


The last frame was all Louisa as Fluvanna went cold and landed just three field goals. Meanwhile Jarrett Hunter and Mark Carter got things going inside for Louisa and when the starters hit the bench with two minutes to play, the reserves kept their foot on the gas, pouring in the last 14 points with Isaiah Anderson’s shot underneath putting the Lions at the century mark.


“It was awesome, a good moment for us because we work hard everyday,” Chris Shelton said. “It’s just exciting that as a team we bond so well. It just feels good, all the hard work paying off.”


On the night, Shelton led all scorers with 33 points with five three pointers. Xavien Hunter had five three’s as well to finish with 22. Jarrett Hunter had 14 with all over them coming in the second half. Carter also chipped in 14 points.


For the Flucos, Edmonds had a team best 15 points. Rittenhouse had 12 points. Walt Stribling added nine points. Opie finished with seven.


Fluvanna is of until January 2 when it plays Western Albemarle. Louisa begins its holiday tournament starting on Wednesday.