‘Chaos’ defense shuts down Knights

By Ray DiMonda
Posted 12/19/18

Oakleaf–“Defense, defense, defense” was the one word Fleming Island Head Coach Traavis Chandler used to sum up his team’s efforts. The Golden Eagles swooped into the Palace of Oakleaf and dug …

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‘Chaos’ defense shuts down Knights

Posted

Oakleaf–“Defense, defense, defense” was the one word Fleming Island Head Coach Traavis Chandler used to sum up his team’s efforts. The Golden Eagles swooped into the Palace of Oakleaf and dug their talons into the Knights armor, peeling it back after the half. Once in control, they never let the Knights back in the game as the Golden Eagles kept the undefeated streak alive with a 64-48, physical, brute force inside game that, as hard as they tried, the Knights just couldn’t respond.

“Tonight, we had to hang our hat on defense. I thought we started out a little lethargic on offense in the beginning. Normally we are opening around 24 points a quarter, or near it. Tonight, we only had 27 in the first half. We just tried to wear them down as much as we could.” That plan was evident as both teams ground it out and struggled just to get a throw-in with the blanket tight, double coverage defense both teams used. Defensively, both Justin St. Laurent, and Gianfranco Grafals both had several blocks for Fleming Island, standing tall inside and forcing Oakleaf to attempt hitting from outside. Grafals had two perfectly set up alley-oop shots that lit the crowd up in both halves, the second coming with no time left on the clock in the game!

After the half, Fleming Island jumped right back into tight man, stealing the ball several times to frustrate Oakleaf, outscoring the Knights by 6 in the third. In the final quarter, Fleming Island seemed to get some caffeine in the water bottles or something as the entire team took it up another notch. “You know what, I guess it’s a testament to just how much these guys are in shape. Tuesday night at Buchholz, it was a dogfight for three quarters, then in the fourth we outscored them 21-6. So- yeah, they are really starting to push the gas to the floor and they are simply outlasting their opponents. Thankfully, we are in that sort of shape and we can sustain it in the fourth.” Fleming Island continued that trend as they went on to outscore the Knights 20-13 on the way to the 64-48 Friday night blitz as the team heads into the winter break and jump into tournament play.

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