In front of a packed Forest Lake Christian gym, the Falcons made it a happy homecoming Friday night by knocking off Central Valley California League leader Delta, 52-49.
The Falcons (17-7, 8-3 CVCL) never trailed by more than one point all night and withstood a late push by Delta (15-7, 9-2 CVCL) to earn the win and likely improve their playoff standing.
“Give credit to Delta, a good team, coach Rork (Crusto), he just knows how to teach those boys how to play, they are small, but they have a lot of heart,” FLC head coach Jason Camacho said. “Hopefully this win will bump us up in the playoff bracket.”
The usually high-scoring Falcon offense struggled to get things going in the first, only scoring 10 in the quarter, but their defense was staunch and allowed just 10 to Delta.
In the second, junior Chase Augustino turned it on, scoring seven of his team-high 17, including a half-court shot at the halftime buzzer to put the Falcons up 24-22.
In the third, Forest Lake Christian’s offense came alive with baskets from senior post player Jesse Poppin, senior guard Brandon Camacho, Augustino and a pair of corner 3-pointers from junior Luke Jordan.
Poppin tallied a double-double on the night with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Camacho, the slight in size but big in heart guard, also scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds despite early foul trouble.
The Falcons took a 42-36 edge into the fourth.
Forest Lake Christian kept the momentum going with a bucket from Augustino, followed by Roman Makovey hitting 3-of-4 free throws to take a 47-38 lead.
The Saints stormed back with a pair of lay-ins, a jumper and a 3-pointer to pull within four at 51-47.
With under a minute left to play and up by four, the Falcons turned the ball over, and Delta capitalized with a lay up on the other end to make it 51-49.
The Falcons in-bounded to Camacho, who was fouled with just 15 seconds left in the game. Camacho hit 1-of-2 free throws to put FLC up three.
The Saints set up a 3-point attempt, but it caromed off the rim, a Delta offensive rebound gave them a second chance, but the desperation fade-away 3-point attempt fell short, and the Falcons ran out the remainder of the clock.
In the game FLC shot a dismal 36 percent from the floor but out-rebounded Delta 37-27 and made 4-of-17 3-point attempts while Delta shot a 1-for-15 from behind the arc.
FLC has one more league game before the playoffs start. The Falcons will travel Tuesday to take on Sacramento Waldorf.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.