GALT – Do you know the way to Arco Arena?
If not, just ask the Forest Lake Christian girls basketball team.
The top-seeded and defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division V champion Falcons got five 3-pointers from Taylor Kilgore and 10 assists from Brittany Allen in a 66-50 section semifinal win over No. 4 Ripon Christian Tuesday at Galt High to advance to Arco Arena for the third time in the last four seasons.
FLC will face Modesto Christian – which defeated Woodland Christian 57-44 in an earlier semifinal – at 4 p.m. Friday.
“It’s just awesome to be able to go back to Arco. This is one of those things you can only dream about happening,” said FLC senior post Julia Hall, who turned in 10 points and eight rebounds. “This is something I’ll remember the rest of my life.”
Along with the chance to defend its title, the Falcons also earned a berth into the CIF NorCal State Championships with the win.
“We beat a good team tonight. Ripon Christian has won the section and state I don’t know how many times, so it was an honor to be on the court with them,” Falcon first-year head coach Steve Kellar said. “We know Modesto Christian’s going to be tough. They’ve got some (solid) players, so we’re going to have our hands full.”
Kilgore, who drained three of her five treys in the third quarter, finished with a season-high 21 points.
“She’s the kind of player you can depend on. We know if we screen for her and get her the ball, the shot’s (got a good chance) of going in. She’s a great shooter ,” Hall said. “She’s worked really hard on her shooting and it’s paid off.”
Kilgore, a sophomore, credited the players who got her the ball in her successful night beyond the arc.
“When we’re moving the ball, we’re going to get open shots,” she said.
While Kilgore wasn’t keen on tooting her own horn, Kellar was more than happy to do it for her.
“Taylor gets overlooked a lot just because of the special play of Brittany (Allen) or because Brooke Hodges is normally our leading scorer. But she’s as good as anyone on the floor,” he said.
FLC, which had defeated its previous two playoff opponents by an average of more than 50 points, led by just three points to open the third quarter, but rattled off a 12-2 run over a two-minute span to put the Knights on the ropes at 41-28.
The Falcon lead ballooned to 24 points by the end of the quarter as four different players scored.
“We have a speed advantage. And the girls executed what I’d told them to do it the first half and that broke the game open,” Kellar said. “They tried to zone us and we’ve never lost to a team that tried that.”
Hodges finished with 12 points, including a pair of second-half 3-pointers. Allen and Olympia Jacobs had seven points each.
Ripon Christian’s Rachel Hamilton scored a game-high 29 points, including five 3-pointers.
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