It took a couple of quarters, but the Forest Lake Christian girls basketball team warmed up to its competition.
The Falcons (17-9) blew past visiting Valley Christian 56-28 in the first round of the Division V Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs Tuesday night, but not before teetering with its opponent in an up-and-down first half.
The Falcons will now play the winner of the Mountain Oaks-Big Valley Christian game.
“We got off to a slow start,” said FLC’s coach Ken Holt after the game. “I think that’s a pretty good team. We focused a lot, actually all year, about playing a defense like this. And a good shooting team. For a while, we were only getting one shot.”
Valley Christian (15-12) did its best to match FLC’s scoring with six points each in the first and second quarter but did its best work holding the Falcons to 12 and nine points in the first two quarters, respectively. The Falcons got into a rhythm of making one pass before attempting a 3-pointer which Holt did not like.
“We needed to crash the boards and get rebounds,” he said.
His Falcons responded by blowing up the game with a 23-point third quarter in which everybody on the court got a little bit of action. But with the trained precision of tested veterans Katie Fletcher and Kayla Campora leading the team, the victory was never in doubt. FLC led through three quarters 44-30 en route to the win.
Fletcher hit four 3-pointers in the game and had 13 points in the first half to carry the Falcons. But her defensive prowess, along with Campora’s, really stuck it to Valley Christian, causing 26 turnovers in the game.
“This team really surprised us by how they came out,” Campora said. “They were really quick and aggressive. They really wanted this game and they showed that.”
Campora finished with 11 points, a team-high 11 rebounds, eight assists and tied with Fletcher for a high of five steals. Fletcher led the team in scoring with 18 points on the evening.
Their teammates were equally impressive in the game. Kate Hoge scored nine points and added eight rebounds while Kelsey Yates chipped in six points and Morgan Pomeroy and Stacey Schoellerman had four each.
Valley Christian was led by Veronica Hudson who scored eight points. Stephanie Contreras added seven while Samantha Shoemake scored six for the visitors.
“Sometimes, on paper in the first round you’re supposed to win,” Holt said. “If you don’t come out to play, a team like this can come out and bite you.
“Each round is going to be tougher. It’s a good win for us.”
To contact Sports Writer Zuri Berry, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4244.
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Grass Valley native Brad Sweet drove past the competition and into victory lane last week, snapping his longest winless streak of the season.