Dethroned – Pinewood upsets Falcons to end FLC’s title defense |

Dethroned – Pinewood upsets Falcons to end FLC’s title defense

STOCKTON – As the final buzzer sounded and the Pinewood faithful cheered, the Forest Lake Christian Falcons stood motionlessly on the sideline, unable to believe their season had ended. Tears were slow to come as the players looked numb, looking at the scoreboard in pain as the goal of being state champions two years in a row was no longer attainable.

The defeat of the Falcons means the state of California will crown a new Division V girls basketball state champion next week at ARCO Arena after the Pinewood Panthers upset the defending champion 60-40 Saturday afternoon at Delta College.

The reality was that Pinewood (25-5) had done its homework, pinpointed the way the Falcons were accustomed to winning and executed a plan designed around stopping Forest Lake Christian’s three-point shooting ability while capitalizing on the Falcons’ weak interior defense.

“I think the girls did a great job and executed our defensive plan to minimize their shooters,” Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler said.

“We identified their shooters as (Taylor) Kilgore and (Brooke) Hodges and I think Sami (Field-Polisso) and Liz Altmaier did a good job on them. We knew that if we gave them space, they were capable of beating us.”

Hodges and Kilgore were limited to just eight combined three-point attempts as the entire Falcons squad was only able to get off 15 three-pointers – the number of threes the Falcons usually shoot in one quarter of a game.

The first quarter of the contest stayed close, with neither team gaining a significant lead until the Panthers began to pull away with 1:04 left in the quarter.

A three-pointer from Thea Morin put Pinewood up 16-12 and jump-started a 12-0 run, in which the Panthers held the Falcons scoreless for five minutes. The Falcons were only able to put up six points in the second quarter and found themselves down 30-18 at halftime.

With 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Hodges hit a basket in the lane to pull the Falcons within six points at 42-36. That was the closest the Falcons would come, as they scored just four points in the final eight minutes of play.

“We weren’t one today – emotionally or spiritually,” Forest Lake Christian coach Steve Kellar said. “We didn’t play like a team and we didn’t execute well.

“I think today was a case of things finally catching up to us. We haven’t been able to shake some injuries or tragedies that faced our team and dogged us all season.”

Junior point guard Brittany Allen led the Falcons in scoring with 15 points, in addition to tallying 10 rebounds and four steals. Hodges, playing in her final game as a Falcon, scored 14 points with seven rebounds and two blocks.

“Brooke had been the ruder for our ship, helping to steer the team through difficult times,” Kellar said. “She had been the most consistent emotional and spiritual force on the team. We will miss who is she is. She is a phenomenal young lady who is as good of a person as she is as a basketball player.”

The loss also marked the last game for Lora Courtney, Jessica Pearce and Megan Wisniewski. Forest Lake Christian finished the season with a 28-6 record.

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