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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Colonels rally, capture title in OT

Monday, February 11, 2013

ROANOKE -- William Fleming rallied from a 15-point third-quarter deficit Thursday night to force overtime and defeat Franklin County, 64-61, to capture the Western Valley District girls' basketball championship.

The title was decided in a neutral-site playoff game at Patrick Henry.

It marks the second year in a row that the Colonels and the Eagles have faced off in a playoff game at PH with the district championship resting in the balance.

William Fleming has won three league titles since returning to the Group AAA ranks in 2008 and it has won each of those championships by claiming a victory in a playoff game.

The Colonels (16-5) bested Halifax County in 2010 at FCHS, then conquered the Eagles (15-6) in back-to-back years (2012, 2013).

FCHS was competing in a playoff game for the fourth time in league history: the Eagles defeated George Washington-Danville in 2004 at Halifax, lost to Danville in 2005, then fell to the Colonels twice.

With the win William Fleming earns the WVD's No.1 seed in the upcoming Northwest Regionals, a first-round bye and a quarterfinal-round home game. The Colonels are a season removed from a runner-up showing in the regionals and an appearance in the Group AAA state tournament.

The Eagles were 5-0 in district play -- that mark included a 27-point, 77-50 road win over the Colonels -- before falling by six points, 72-66 to William Fleming at home.

William Fleming's road win, which stopped a three-game winning streak in the series by the Eagles, gave it a half-game lead in the WVD standings. The edge reached a full game when the Colonels whipped PH to conclude regular-season play.

FCHS routed Halifax and PH in its last two league outings to force Thursday's playoff

FCHS led 15-13 after the opening quarter and outscored William Fleming 13-7 in the second stanza to push the spread to 28-20 at intermission.

A 13-6 third-quarter spurt put the Eagles in front 41-26, but the Colonels would respond with an 18-0 run that started in the third period and ended in the fourth.

That blitz, one that was akin to a 23-0 run the Colonels produced in last year's playoff win, gave William Fleming a 44-41edge.

FCHS would outscored William Fleming 14-11 from that point, and at the end of regulation play, the count was even at 55.

William Fleming outscored FCHS 9-6 in overtime for the win.

The Colonels swished seven 3-point field goals to the Eagles' one.

Gracie Doane five of her team's seven treys and finished with 17 points.

Desiree Keeling paced the Colonels with a game-best 19 points. She completed a double-double with 15 rebounds.

Also, Keke Lee tallied 12 points.

Four other players contributed points for the Colonels, who made 22 total field goals and was 13 of 28 from the free-throw line.

FCHS converted 23 field goals, but was 14 of 33 from the free-throw line.

Brianna Taylor netted 18 points to led the Eagles. She hit her team's lone 3-pointer.

Miranda Crockett scored 15 points and Charmaine Hairston finished with 10.

Also scoring were Zarkia Mattox with six points, Destani Mitchell and Erinn Brooks each with four and Daishi Dudley with two.

The two teams combined to commit 45 fouls and shoot 61 free-throws.

Three players fouled out for each team -- Ryjae Anderson, Haynes and Keeling for the Colonels, Hairston, Crockett and Mattox for the Eagles.


TIP-INS: Postseason WVD tournament play begins tonight with No. 1 seed William Fleming hosting No. 4 seed PH and No. 2 seed FCHS entertaining No. 3 seed Danville.

The championship and consolation games are set for Wednesday night at the site of the higher seed.

Tonight's game at Samuel M. Hawkins-Central Gymnasium tips off at 7.

FCHS has won four straight games in the series.

The Eagles seek their fifth straight tournament championship and their sixth overall. They've played in each of the last five tournament title games (2008-2012) falling to Danville in 2008, defeating PH in 2009 and 2011 and besting William Fleming in 2010 and 2012.

Overall, FCHS has played in nine tournament championship games. During Lisa Black's tenure as head coach, the Eagles lost to Danville in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and defeated Danville in 2006, the year in which they lost in the Northwest Region title game to Forest Park and to Princess Anne in the Group AAA state quarterfinals.

Wins tonight by FCHS and William Fleming guarantees the Eagles the WVD's No. 2 seed in the Northwest Regionals.

As a No. 2 seed, FCHS would open the regional tournament at home Saturday against the No. 3 seed from the Commonwealth District. A win in that game send the Eagles on the road to face Cardinal District champion Potomac next Tuesday. Potomac edged the Eagles by two points, 48-46, earlier this season in Dumfries.

If FCHS goes into the draw as the WVD's No. 3 seed, it would open the tournament on the road Saturday against the No. 2 seed from the Commonwealth.

Wins by FCHS and PH or Danville and PH would nullify Wednesday's consolation game.

Under the first scenario, William Fleming, FCHS and PH would represent the WVD in the regionals. Under the second one, William Fleming, Danville and PH would be the league's regional-bound teams.

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