When the dust settled Wednesday night in opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs the Forest Lake Christian boys basketball season was over.
The No. 7 seeded Falcons fell 72-39 against a worthy opponent in No. 10 seed Bradshaw Christian.
The Pride’s full court press made offense hard to come by for the Falcons as it forced six consecutive turnovers before Forest Lake Christian was even able to get off a shot attempt.
The relentless attack mode mentality paid off for the Pride as it snatched up Falcon passes and quickly pushed the ball up the court to score easy lay ups.
“(Mike Ruble) is a good coach,” said FLC head coach Jason Camacho. “We give so much credit to (Bradshaw). Half of those guys played football and it shows. We couldn’t mimic the way they play D.”
Before the Falcons could regroup with a timeout they had already fallen behind 6-0. Forest Lake Christian was finally able to get some shots to fall once they started moving the ball and not allowing the Pride’s swarming defense to close in.
FLC big man Jesse Poppin scored underneath the basket off a quick pass inside and Brandon Camacho floated one in off another crisp pass. J.J. Griffiths made an open shot to pull the Falcons within four, trailing 12-8, but that’s as close as they would get.
“Bradshaw rattled us with their defense,” Brandon Camacho said. “We weren’t prepared for it. Coach told us not to pass into the corners. We just made bad choices. We played individually, not team ball.”
From there, the Pride closed out the quarter on an 11-2 run draining a 3-pointer at the buzzer to go up 23-10. Forest Lake Christian stepped it up in the second quarter as it brought out its press defense, but Bradshaw still went toe to toe with the Falcons answering every score with one of its own.
The Falcons got a small wave of momentum heading into the locker room when Chase Augustino swiped a steal and scored in the final seconds capping off a 6-0 run to pull the Falcons within 14 points.
The Falcons only mustered five points in the third quarter though as the Pride continued to swarm the ball the create easy scoring opportunities.
Whenever Bradshaw had possession it was in a hurry to score, either slicing through the lane or passing down low in the paint catching the Falcons on their heels. Facing a 55-26 deficit headed into the fourth, the Falcons were all but eliminated.
“We didn’t look at the score,” Brandon Camacho said. “We just kept playing through it.”
Brandon Camacho found his stroke late, scoring eight of his 10 points in the fourth quarter to go with five boards and three steals. He was the only Falcon to score in double digits. Poppin and Roman Makovey turned in equal performances, each tossing in six points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Nearly every possession for the Falcons continued to be such a daunting task as they tried to get off quality shots. Most of the attempts taken were contested or forced from an uncomfortable position. Forest Lake Christian finished the night 15-of-45 shooting with only one 3-pointer. Bradshaw’s tenacious defense remained the bigger theme as the Falcons turned the ball over 16 times and surrendered numerous points going the other direction.
“(Bradshaw) was in position and got to the right spots,” Camacho added. “We just couldn’t get the ball to where we wanted.”
The Pride finished the game shooting a solid 50 percent, dropping in 32-of-64 attempts.
Forest Lake Christian (19-8) heads into an off season where it graduates six seniors, including starters Brandon Camacho and Poppin.
“I’m excited for next year,” Jason Camacho said. “We grew spiritually as a team. Hopefully we can build muscles like Bradshaw.”
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.