Big and tall |

Big and tall

Too much of the too-tall man was enough to derail Forest Lake Christian’s boys basketball season.

The fans who were watching didn’t know which was more awkward: 7-foot, 2-inch Greg Somogyi, Gatorade advertisements during halftime and timeout breaks or the Falcons losing in the first round of the Division V Northern California playoff bracket to Portola Valley’s Woodside Priory, 75-47.

The 28-point difference is the most lopsided loss the Falcons (22-10) have seen all year. It also effectively ended the Falcons’ basketball season as the last area team playing.

“They had a lot of big players,” said the Falcons’ senior Andrew Ritchart who scored 17 points. “Their presence was big. I think we stuck with them in the first quarter and then they grinded it out and took it to us in the second quarter.”

The Falcons’ troubles began and ended with Somogyi, a senior committed to UC Santa Barbara, who was the catalyst for the Panthers, scoring a game-high 33 points and blocking five shots. His presence in the middle of the lane altered numerous shots and forced the Falcons into extra passes they weren’t accustomed to taking.

“We had no answer for the big guy,” FLC coach David Thomas said. “He was bona fide and he did his job well.”

It hurt the Falcons that they lost their touch in the second quarter as well, scoring only seven points in the quarter ” well off their average of 18.4 in that stretch.

“In the second quarter we got a little tired and we were passing up some drives and some things we would’ve normally done,” Thomas said.

It was the perfect opportunity for the No. 5 seed Panthers (25-5) to pull away in an upset after losing 45-44 in the Central Coast Section title game to Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton).

“It feels good after the Sacred Heart game,” Woodside Priory coach Al Klein said. “It was scary how well (FLC) can shoot the ball.”

The Falcons were carried by Josh Ritchart in the first half, heading into halftime with an 18-point halftime deficit. Josh Ritchart had 14 points in the first half, including 10 in the first quarter.

But the play of the 6-6 sophomore practically inspired the play of the Panthers’ big man, Klein said.

“At games where people guard him with one guy, he’s good,” Klein said of the defensive scheme used by the Falcons. “Most of the time, he’s got two or three guys (on him) and he’s been willing to let other guys score the ball. So it was nice ” I think for him ” to play against another good player who’s big, to play one-on-one.”

Said Somogyi: “We stepped up today. We were really motivated because we didn’t want our season to be over.”

Woodside Priory’s Ignas Pavilonis contributed 18 points for the Panthers.

Falcons seniors Ben Sparling and Austin Maynard added six and five points, respectively, while junior Pierce Azarcon added two as the other scorers for FLC.

The Falcons coach saw this game as a learning experience and a taste of what it’s like on a level FLC’s boys program had never before seen.

“They wore us down a little bit,” Thomas said. “It was a great game, But at the same time, it was a little lesson. You know, welcome to the big leagues.

“It’s a disappointment because you get up there and you get a taste of winning and get a taste of competing against teams,” Thomas continued. “We’ve technically been the underdog against a lot of the teams we’ve played and turned it around on them. That was a bona fide team. They played very good defense. I would’ve liked to have made a little bit better run in the second half, but again, they staved us off.

“I think this gave the young guys a taste of what it could be, if they work hard this summer.”

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