FLEMING ISLAND – In their inaugural Battle on the Island Christmas Basketball Tournament, Fleming Island High’s boys team knocked out two out-of-area stalwarts with wins over Thomas County …
FLEMING ISLAND – In their inaugural Battle on the Island Christmas Basketball Tournament, Fleming Island High’s boys team knocked out two out-of-area stalwarts with wins over Thomas County Central (Georgia) Hornets, and Miami’s Booker T. Washington Tornadoes.
“You’re clicking on all cylinders the first two games of the tournament and you get to the championship, and the mental capacity wasn’t there,” said Fleming Island High coach Traavis Chandler. “Too many mental errors. We made some bone-headed mistakes tonight as far as identifying on defense and bad decisions on offense.”
In the much-ballyhooed championship game Saturday night, Fleming Island steamed to a 6-0 lead off consecutive three-pointers from Sebastian Astor and Zach Gagne, but the Eagles’ roll stopped just about there as University Christian won the title game 46-38.
In the preliminary two games prior to Saturday, Fleming Island showed off an “A” game that
Where Fleming Island played their best “A” games the previous two days, the Golden Eagles dropped behind 29-19 at the halftime break after the earlhy 6-0 lead off missed passes, passes out of bounds, and poor pass decisions that cost his team.
In the first quarter, the Golden Eagles only had three players reach the basket. For the first half, only four players scored any points.
“Toughness… toughness. We have to be able to box out, we have to drive people out, we have to rebound, and just decision making” Chandler would comment on for things that need to come together for his team. “We have to move the ball up the floor. We can’t dribble up the floor every time.”
Chandler was referring to his team’s play of slowing the game down when University Christian would score and reset before Fleming Island could try to get the ball back in their end of the court. The quickness was not where it needed to be. The Golden Eagles outscored UC 12-6 in the third, but were still down 35-31 going into the fourth. Then the wheels really came off.
In the fourth, Fleming Island could not get any rhythm going at all. Fleming Island was held to five points from the field and two free throws. The Christians ripped the knob off their defense and were everywhere Fleming Island tried to go.
“We saw them, we scouted them, we knew what we were dealing with; what to expect,” said Chandler. “The guys just need to do a better job at following the game plan and as coaches we could have done things differently, put some traps in and thrown different looks at them. The half court trap worked for a while, but not scoring, we just couldn’t get back to it. You have to score baskets to set it up.”
Asked for a closing thought, Chandler replied “If they are smart enough we’ll learn from it and move on.”
sOn the night, junior Gianfranco Grafals had the high scoring for Fleming Island with 15 points followed by Senior Christian Young with 11 points, one three pointer. Only three other players scored on the evening with a total of 12 points combined. The boys team found an opening in the Baker County Tournament and will use that opportunity to bounce back and find answers to the issues they discovered.