PREP BASKETBALL: Defense, dominance in the paint spur Lady Falcons past Valley Christian and into title game | TheUnion.com

PREP BASKETBALL: Defense, dominance in the paint spur Lady Falcons past Valley Christian and into title game

So often in sports to be the champ, you need to beat the champ.

Well, the girls basketball team from Forest Lake Christian just beat the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI champs and are now one win away from being the champs.

Behind solid play in the paint and a smothering defense, the Lady Falcons knocked off the 2017 D-VI champion Valley Christian Lions, 68-59, Thursday night in the semifinals and will now play for the championship March 2 at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

"Unreal. I'm just overwhelmed with joy," said Forest Lake Christian senior Johnna Dreschler, who tallied a team-high 22 points and 22 rebounds. "It's insane. Valley knocked us out last year, out of the championship, so to come back and beat them is unreal. And having Jessi (Dreschler) by my side just makes it… I'm speechless."

The Lady Falcons dominated in the paint thanks in large part to the Dreschler sisters, who both tallied a double-double. Jessi Dreschler finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds. As a team, FLC grabbed 63 rebounds in the game, 32 of which were offensive.

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Forest Lake Christian fell behind early, trailing 16-10 in the first quarter, but charged back to take a 29-23 halftime lead. Valley Christian refused to go quietly though and rallied in the second half to grab a 55-53 lead with less than 4 minutes remaining in the game.

But the Lady Falcons had an answer, getting buckets by Amber Jackson and Ellie Wood to regain the lead. They would never trail again as their defense continued to hound the Lions, who struggled to score down the stretch.

In addition to Johnna and Jessi Dreschler, the Lady Falcons got strong games from Wood (14 points), Jackson (seven points, eight rebounds, four steals) and Bella Horner (two points, seven rebounds and five steals). Also coming up big for FLC was Breezy Adams, who scored six straight points in the second quarter to give the Lady Falcons their first lead of the game.

"Most of our girls were brought to tears," said FLC head coach Valerie Horner, who also had a tear in her eye after the game. "They wanted it so bad last year and to get that vindication this year is beyond words."

Assistant coach Tom Ritchart, who has been with the program since 2010, added, "It's sweet. We've been waiting a long time. This group of girls really deserves it."

The trip to the title game is FLC's first since 2006. The Last time the Lady Falcons won a section title was 2005.

Forest Lake Christian (20-5) has now won 18 straight, dating back to mid-December. They will face No. 3 seed Ripon Christian in the championship.

Boys basketball

SACRAMENTO WALDORF 46, FOREST LAKE CHRISTIAN 45

The No. 12 seed Falcons nearly pulled off a major upset in the second round of the D-VI playoffs, but fell by one point to No. 4 seed Sacramento Waldorf Wednesday.

Forest Lake Christian held a two-point lead with less than a minute left in the game, but the Waves sank a 3-pointer to grab the lead with 10 seconds left and FLC was unable to respond.

Leading the Falcons was sophomore Luke Gilliland with 20 points. Fellow sophomores J.R. Molloy (12 points) and Simon Blackburn (10 points) also had strong efforts.

The loss wraps the season for FLC (12-15) which finished third in the CVCL and won an opening round playoff game over No. 5 seed Sacramento Country Day.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

LADY FALCONS LEADERS

Johnna Dreschler – 22 points, 22 rebounds

Jessi Dreschler – 13 points, 14 rebounds

Ellie Wood – 14 points

Amber Jackson – 7 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals

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