Fleming Island falls twice in Battle of Island finals

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FLEMING ISLAND - Fleming Island High's boys and girls basketball teams both lost in their own gym in the championship games of the Battle of the Island Christmas Basketball Tournament held Thurs.-Sat., Dec. 19-21.

In the girls final, pitting Fleming Island's girls team against Columbia Lake City, the Lady Golden Eagles got to a quick 9-0 lead off three pointers from Emma Richard and Kennedy Williams, but the Lady Tigers' team speed proved fatal after tying the game at 21-21 at the halftime buzzer before finishing off a 53-36 win.

Fleming Island beat Impact Christian Academy 61-20 in the tournament opener with Columbia beating Tallahassee Rickards to advance.

For the boys, Fleming Island opened with a 66-54 win over Kentucky powerhouse Frankfort High with a 59-38 win over Gainesville in the tournament semifinal before falling to Andrew Jackson 60-48 in the championship game.

Against Frankfort, a 25 point fourth quarter proved too much to handle as Fleming Island answered for a five point second quarter after coach Traavis Chandler's halftime encouragement.

"We have to learn to win big games like that one," said Chandler, after beating Franklin, a 20-4 team last year.

Against Frankfort, with the score at 43-41 for Frankfort in the fourth quarter, Fleming Island barraged the first five minutes with at 12-2 opening with guard Sebastian Astor hitting a three to fuel the outburst. Astor would finish as top scorer with 16 points/2 3-Ptrs, with Elias Martin (14 Pts), Aaron Brown (13 Pts) and Ahman Greenidge (12 Pts.) all hitting double digits. Greenidge had 10 rebounds while Martin blocked four shots.

Astor led scoring against Gainesville with 18 points and six assists.

Against a very athletic and much taller Andrew Jackson team that was unbeaten in nine games, the Golden Eagles held an 11-10 lead after opening at 8-0 with Brown hitting a three off an inbounds pass, but the Tigers kept the pressure on underneath to get back into striking distance at the buzzer.

The two teams volleyed the lead through the second quarter with Astor hitting a three off a Jordan Mills pick to tie the game against at 19-19 with three minutes to halftime.

Fleming Island built a 29-26 halftime lead, but let Andrew Jackson grab some locker room momentum with a buzzer beater three pointer going into the break.

With both teams ramping up the pace of the game, the score stayed close behind a Nick Mas three pointer that clipped the Tiger lead to 36-34.

Fleming Island had foul outs from Steele Perry and Martin  as Andrew Jackson surged to the final 60-48 championship win.

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