Fuqua Girls Fall To Southampton In VCC Tournament Quarterfinals

Published 4:44 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013

FARMVILLE – The Fuqua School girls basketball team may look at Monday night's 47-41 loss to Southampton Academy in the quarterfinals of the Virginia Commonwealth Conference Tournament as more than one that got away.

It may have ended the Falcons' 2012-13 season.

The Falcons, who have been sitting around 11th or 12th in the Virginia Independent Schools Division III State Poll, may find themselves on the outside looking in when the teams to the 12-team state playoff are announced on Sunday afternoon.

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“This one could very well knock us out,” said FS head coach Harry Bryant. “If we win this one, we might be able to move up to ninth or tenth, but losing this one at home may knock us down a spot or two, and we can't afford that.”

The Raiders, who were the No. 5 seed entering the tournament, will play top seed Amelia Academy on Friday in the VCC Tourney semifinals at Richard Bland College.

“It was another typical, slow Fuqua start,” said Bryant. “It's almost a given. I like how our girls don't get discouraged when things don't go well at the start, but we make things hard on ourselves when we give teams a ten point lead right out of the gate.”

Due in large part to going a perfect 13-13 at the foul line in the first half, Southampton jumped out to a 13-4 lead at the end of the first quarter, and were ahead 21-9 midway through the second, before Fuqua climbed back into the contest.

The Falcons picked up the pace at the foul line on their end, and went 10-13 from the stripe in the second quarter. FS cut the Raiders' lead to 23-17 just before the half, before SA's Sarah Best hit a 15-foot runner at the buzzer to increase the Raiders' lead to 25-17 at the break.

After falling behind by ten points early in the second half, Fuqua rallied with an 8-0 run to cut the SA lead to two points at 27-25 with 4:22 left in the third quarter. A three-pointer by senior Caroline Bryant, three foul shots from Taylor Schmidt and a short jumper by Caroline Wiles pulled the Falcons to within a bucket, but Southampton seemed to have an answer for every challenge by Fuqua. The Raiders quickly pushed out to a 31-25 lead, before Fuqua cut its deficit back to a pair at 31-29 on a foul shot by Wiles.

Fuqua took their only lead of the night at 32-31 on two made foul shots by Taylor Frink with 5:46 left, but SA quickly moved back ahead 37-32, before Schmidt converted a three-point-play with 3:16 left to pull Fuqua back to within two at 37-35.

A three-pointer by Morgan Pope with 2:25 left pushed Southampton's lead back to seven points at 42-35, and the Raiders extended their lead to ten points with less than a minute to play.

“We played an outstanding third quarter to get back into the game, and we had a couple chances there after we took the lead to really turn the momentum, but we couldn't convert. There was one point in that stretch that I thought if we could score we might be able to really turn it. We had three cracks at the basket, but couldn't get it to go, and they finally grabbed the rebound, went down and got a big shot that gave them the momentum.”

Best led all scorers with 15 points on the night, while Barclay Gatten scored ten and Pope added eight for the Raiders.

Fuqua was led by Schmidt, who had 12 points, while Frink added ten and Wiles scored six.

The Falcons will have to wait to see if they will be invited to next week's tournament.

“If we had won this game, I would've felt really good about our chances. We might be able to get in but there's not anything we can do to improve our chances.”