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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
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Eagles to play Danville in tournament semifinals
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Franklin County's Ray Witcher (left) and head coach Lloyd Church

Monday, February 11, 2013

By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor

George Washington-Danville won this year's Western Valley District boys' varsity basketball championship on Franklin County's home floor last week.

Tuesday, Danville gets the opportunity to put the Eagles' 2012-13 hoops' campaign to the cliff of extinction.

The two rivals will meet in one of two semifinal games in the WVD's postseason tournament. Tip off in Danville is 7 p.m.

Danville is the No. 1 seed, FCHS (15-6) is the No. 4 seed.

In Tuesday's other semifinal, No. 2 seed William Fleming (14-8) entertains No. 3 seed Patrick Henry (17-5), its cross-city district foe in what will be the fourth meeting this season between the Colonels and the Patriots.

PH bested William Fleming in the finals of the K-Guard Classic at the Salem Civic Center during the Christmas holidays, while William Fleming was victorious in each of the two district match-ups.

Had William Fleming not been forced to forfeit its district win from Jan. 4 over Halifax County, the Colonels would be the No. 1 seed and they would be hosting the Eagles Tuesday.

Instead, Danville (19-2) won the WVD championship last week's neutral-site playoff game at Samuel M. Hawkins-Central Gymnasium, 67-53.

Also, with that win, Danville earns the WVD's No. 1 seed, a first-round bye and a quarterfinal-round home game in the Northwest Regionals.

Danville will host the winner of the first-round regional match-up between the No. 2 seed from the Commonwealth District and the No. 3 seed from the Cardinal District.

The tournament, the last WVD postseason event, will decide the league's No. 2 and No. 3 region seeds.

FCHS's 15 wins in Lloyd Church's second year at the helm matches its victory output from 2009 when the Eagles finished 15-9.

FCHS did not qualify for the postseason tournament in Church's first year as head coach; the Eagles were defeated at home by Halifax in a play-in game with the No. 4 seed resting in the balance.

FCHS will attempt to earn its first regional berth since 2007, the last time the Eagles played in the district tournament's title game -- oddly enough at Danville.

FCHS won 11 of its first 12 games, but started WVD play 0-3 after consecutive home-court setbacks to PH, Danville and William Fleming.

But the Eagles are riding the crest of a two-game winning streak after concluding district play with victories over Halifax at home and PH on the road.

The triumph over the Patriots was FCHS's first since February 2009.

"We are playing well right now and have peaked at the right time,' Church said. "We are playing with a lot of confidence and that is very important.

"The tournament will be tough for all the teams involved and should be exciting,' Church said.

During regular-season play, Danville routed FCHS twice: by 28 points 87-59 at Hawkins Gym and by 30, 95-65, on its home floor.

In its victory at home, Danville made 36 field goals -- 18 2-pointers and 18 3-pointers.

Danville, which averages 87.3 points-per-game, brings at four-game winning streak into the contest.

In seven of its 19 victories, Danville surpassed the 90- point mark. On three occasions, it broke 100.

A Danville win means FCHS would play the loser of the Colonels-Patriots game Thursday night in the tournament's consolation game at either William Fleming or PH to decide the league's No. 3 region berth.

An FCHS win Tuesday would void the consolation game. Thus, the tournament champion would enter the regionals as the WVD's No. 2 seed and the tournament runner-up would be the league's No. 3 region seed.

The WVD's No. 2 region seed plays its first-round game at home Saturday against the No. 3 seed from the Cedar Run District. The WVD's No. 3 seed visits the No. 2 seed from the Cedar Run on Saturday.

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