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VISAA Division II Basketball: Eagles boys, girls advance
BY ADAM HIMMELSBACH
Seth Allen has had two memorable seasons for the Fredericksburg Christian boys basketball team since transferring here from Hylton.
During that time, there was one thing he had never done. And it was something he had no desire to do.
“I’ve never lost in our home gym,” Allen said. “So I told my guys I didn’t want it to happen today, either.”
Fredericksburg Christian then stormed to a 63–53 victory over Middleburg in a Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II quarterfinal.
Regardless of the outcome, it would have been Allen’s final game in this small and charming gym.
But the senior preferred to leave it on his own terms.
With the win, Fredericksburg Christian advanced to a semifinal against Episcopal High, which features Wake Forest recruit Arnaud Adala Moto.
The game will be played at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at Virginia State University.
“We’re confident, but not cocky,” Allen said. “We’re going into that game trusting each other.”
On Wednesday night, five Fredericksburg Christian players scored nine points or more, led by DeLante’ Victory, who had 15. Allen and Trey Rowser added 13 apiece.
FCS and Middleburg had split their previous two meetings this season, but Allen did not play in the Eagles’ loss.
There was a chance he could miss this game, too. He strained a tendon in his foot during the Delaney Athletic Conference title game on Saturday, and he underwent precautionary X–rays this week.
He said he was not at full speed against Middleburg, but his teammates picked up the slack.
Time and again, the Eagles collapsed on Middleburg center Mo Alie Cox, who has signed with Virginia Commonwealth.
“We wanted to make their other guys make plays,” forward Eric Shaw said.
Middleburg burst to an early 18–9 lead before FCS clawed back within 28–26 at halftime.
The score was tied at 43 after three quarters, but in the fourth, FCS found its rhythm.
With 3 minutes, 33 seconds left, Victory converted a layup that capped a 12–1 run and gave the Eagles a 55–46 edge.
“We know when we rebound and get out and run,” FCS coach Darren Berkley said, “we’re really good.”
Middleburg Aca. 18 10 15 10 — 53
FCS 12 14 17 20 — 63
Middleburg Academy (27–11): Brandon Alston 3, Stephen Sheppard 4, Marcus Hayes 9, Gregory Malinowski 13, Mo Alie 15, Drew Henry 7, Delante Jones 2. Totals: 21 7-17 53
Fredericksburg Christian (24–6): Seth Allen 13, Trey Rowser 13, DeLante’ Victory 15, Eric Shaw 11, A.J. Addison 0, Cody Goode 2, Aaron Alexander 9, Jacob Baker 0. Totals: 22 13-15 63
Three-point goals: Middleburg Academy 4 (G. Malinowski 3, M. Alie). Fredericksburg Christian 6 (S. Allen 2, T. Rowser, E. Shaw 2, A. Alexander).
FREDERICKSBURG CHRISTIAN 63,
NORFOLK COLLEGIATE 46
NORFOLK COLLEGIATE 46
With less than a minute left in the third quarter, Eagles star Brittany Burton awkwardly turned her knee and limped off the court.
By that time, the Eagles were well on their way to advancing in this VISAA state quarterfinal.
But they suddenly had new concerns, because their hopes of advancing past this game would have been severely dented without Burton.
She left the court with the Eagles’ athletic trainer, and when she tapped the shoulder of coach Jeff Shaeffer a few minutes later and said she was ready to reenter the game, the look of relief on his face was noticeable.
“The trainer didn’t want me to go back in at first,” Burton said. “But I’ve twisted that knee before.”
The Eagles did not need Burton anymore in this game, but they will surely need her on Friday, when they face Cape Henry Collegiate, the state’s top-seeded team in Division II.
When the two teams met on Jan. 21, Cape Henry won, 79–50.
“It’ll be a tough challenge,” Shaeffer said. “But I think we’ll do a little better this time.”
In Wednesday night’s quarterfinal, Burton finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Olivia Krachenfels added 13 points and 24 rebounds.
The Eagles led 14–13 after one quarter, then went on a 19–11 run to take a 33–24 halftime lead.
A 3-pointer by Norfolk Collegiate’s Dee Maddox pulled the Mighty Oaks within 38–33 midway through the third period, but FCS quickly extended its lead again.
Gabby Comfort drained a 15-footer at the buzzer to make it 45–34 heading into the fourth. Fredericksburg Christian’s lead was not threatened after that.
“We played really well tonight,” Burton said. “Everybody was playing and being unselfish.”
Wednesday night’s win clinched their first semifinal berth since 1995. The Eagles know it will be quite a challenge to advance to the final, but they are happy to ride their current momentum.
Norfolk Coll. 13 11 10 12 — 46
FCS 14 19 12 18 — 63
Norfolk Collegiate (13–13): Dee Maddox 17, Anna Newbold 5, Raven Evans 13, Kristen Rempas 3, Brianna Hale 4, Mallory Nipper 2, Erica Hildebrand 2. Totals: 15 10-18 46.
Fredericksburg Christian (26–3): Brittney Burton 24, Briana Clarkson 3, Gabby Comfort 19, Victoria Kelly 0, Olivia Krachenfels 13, Dominique Lavender 4, Alexis Love 0, Sarah Therrien 0. Totals: 23 13-19 63.
Three-point goals: Norfolk Collegiate 6 (D. Maddox, R. Evans 3, K. Rempas, B. Hale). Fredericksburg Christian 4 (B. Clarkson, G. Comfort 3).
Adam Himmelsbach: 540/374-5442