Lady Falcons douse Wildfires, clinch title | TheUnion.com

Lady Falcons douse Wildfires, clinch title

Brian Shepard
Special to The Union

Behind an enthusiastic home crowd, the Forest Lake Christian Lady Falcons basketball team soared to a 43-16 victory over Foresthill Tuesday night, collecting its 15th consecutive win and clinching its first Central Valley California League title in a decade.

"I think that we're all surprised and excited," said first-year coach Valerie Horner. "It wasn't expected this year. The team came out of nowhere. Their talent grows beyond what we could have expected. The unity on the team as we watched the season progress, we thought, 'It's going to happen. We can do it.'

"I don't even have words. It's just amazing to watch the girls."

The Lady Falcons put the hammer down early, jumping out front with a 7-0 run after a 3-pointer from senior Erin Johnson, and kept the pressure on defensively as they led 26-7 at the half.

“The team came out of nowhere. Their talent grows beyond what we could have expected. The unity on the team as we watched the season progress, we thought, ‘It’s going to happen. We can do it.’”

— first-year coach Valerie Horner

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Forest Lake Christian owned the paint all night, tossing in a bounty of buckets down low and also beat the Wildfires on the boards, with a 50-23 edge in rebounds, getting a healthy dose of second looks.

"We didn't have Amber (Jackson) tonight, who's like our main defensive life player" said senior Johnna Dreschler, who led the team with a double-double, 15 points and 20 boards. "We knew we had to make up for that defensive intensity. The girls came out here and fought hard on every play."

In the second half, the Lady Falcons kept the Wildfires contained, not allowing any momentum to spark a comeback. Continuing its relentless defensive effort.

"We just worked as a team and gave it our all," said senior Bella Horner, who dropped in seven points, including a rainmaker from beyond the arc, and swiped five steals. "We came out with full intensity and ready to play. The excitement of being here so far in league and being undefeated just really showed tonight. Our coach Tom (Ritchart) has been here forever and it's really an honor to be a part of the team that helps him get that win."

Forest Lake Christian (17-5, 9-0 CVCL) closes out the regular season today at Delta and looks to be a top seed as it awaits the release of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff brackets Thursday.

Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes to The Union regularly.

FALCONS 43 WILDFIRES 16

Team 1 2 3 4 F

Forest Lake Christian 13 13 11 6 43

Foresthill 4 3 4 5 16

FLC: Johnna Dreschler- 15pts, 20rebs

FLC: Bella Horner- 7pts, 5stls