COLUMBIA, SC - Fleming Island High basketball took a lesson from their 60-48 championship loss on their home court last week against still-unbeaten Andrew Jackson High at the Battle of the Island tournament and made a long, contemplative trip to South Carolina.
"I was wondering how they were going to respond after the Jackson loss," said Fleming Island coach Traavis Chandler, via phone just before playing in the championship game of the Brookland-Cayce Roundball Classic. "I'm pleased to see that they did not fold. We are in South Carolina and beating some pretty high rankings teams up here."
Fleming Island responded with a 62-49 win over Lugoff-Elgin High in their tournament opener, then dispatched of previously undefeated (10-0, now 10-1) Westwood High of Blythewood, SC, 61-58 in overtime, to set up the championship game against Lower Richland High of Hopkins, SC. late Saturday afternoon. Lower Richland was 7-2 before the game and ranked fourth statewide in all classes and number one in Class 4A.
Note: Fleming Island lost 65-57 to Lower Richmond.
"They (Westwood) was ranked seventh in the state in South Carolina 4A (14th all classes)," said Chandler. "Steele Perry has upped his game for us and we are playing well around the lineup."
Perry, with 14 points, led the Golden Eagles scoring against Lugoff-Elgin with Nick Mas coming off the bench to add 11. Elias Martin snagged 10 rebounds in that game.
Against region semifinalist Westwood, Perry again had a solid scoring night with 11 points with Ahman Greenidge also hitting for 11 points with seven rebounds. Martin had 12 rebounds with 10 points with guard Sebastian Astor dishing for nine assists.
Against Westwood, both defenses kept the game withing a point or two to the final whistle where the score was tied at 52-52 before Fleming Island won with a 9-6 overtime period.
Against Lower Richmond, Chandler commented that Fleming Island got as close as 56-52 late in the game, but missed on a steal to layup.
"That was the number one team in the largest class in South Carolina," said Chandler. "It was a good, hard fought game."
Perry and Astor both were chosen to the National Bracket All Tournament Team.
Orange Park Raiderdome Classic Bracket Buster
On Friday and Saturday, Jan. 3-4, Orange Park High will host the Raiderdome Classic Bracket Buster with four games on Friday starting at 2pm and four games on Saturday starting at noon.
Friday: 2 p.m. Godby vs. Bishop Kenny; 3:30 p.m. Lincoln vs. Masters Academy; 5 p.m. Orange Park vs. Bartram Trail; 6:30 p.m. Windermere vs. Providence.
Saturday: Noon Terry Parker vs. Godby; 1:30 p.m. Rutherford vs. Windermere; 3 p.m. Orange Park vs. Columbia; 4:30 p.m. Bolles vs. Lincoln.