FLEMING ISLAND – Fleming Island High senior point guard Gianfranco Grafals chuckled when asked about the ‘chaotic’ defensive strategy his coach, Traavis Chandler, is employing this year that has resulted in a five wins, no losses start of the 2018 regular season.
“It’s just fun,” said Grafals, who led the Eagles to a 59-47 blowout district 4-8A win over defending runnerup Bartram Trail Friday night at Fleming Island High School. “We keep the pace high, attack, get loose balls and make breakaways.”
Two of Grafals ‘breakaways’ were rim-rattling one-handed dunks in the final quarter much to the approval of the filled Eagles’ gym.
Grafals, leading the Fleming Island scoring sprees with a 21 points per game average, has spearheaded a 63-59 win over 8A region finalist Lincoln last week with 32 points and then 21 points against Bartram Trail.
One number that showcases the Fleming Island attack is Grafals’ seven steals and five assists in the past three games; wins over Ridgeview, Lincoln and Bartram Trail.
Against Bartram Trail, Fleming Island blew open a 36-14 half time lead with Sebastian Astor (15 Pts.) blasting an early three pointer as the Golden Eagles surged to an early 14-8 lead and never took the foot off the pedal.
Bartram Trail hit a three pointer as the second quarter started to get to 14-11, but Fleming Island answered with a 22-3 run to the halftime break.
Bartram Trail hit three threes in the third to position a possible comeback that got as close as 40-22, but an Astor to Grafals alley oop feed to dunk ignited a run to the 59-47 finish.
Grafals finished as top scorer with 21 points off 10 field goals with Astor at 15 and Aaron Brown at 10.
Astor had five steals and five assists with Elias Martin tops on rebounds with seven.
Against Lincoln, an 8A region finalist, Grafals topped scoring with 32 points in the 63-59 win. Fleming Island exploded for a 23-14 first quarter lead, but slowed to a 10 point second quarter and a third quarter with just nine points before regrouping for a 21-18 fourth quarter.
Fleming Island heads to Buchholz (2-2) and Oakleaf (4-1) for district matches on Tues., Dec. 11 and Thurs., Dec. 14 before hosting the Battle of the Island Tournament.