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Falcons fend off Vacaville

John HartForest Lake Christian's James Belch drives on Drew White Wednesday. Belch had a game-high 25 points and six three-pointers in the Forest Lake victory.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

If the Forest Lake Christian boys basketball wanted a test in its Sac-Joaquin Section Division V first round playoff game with visiting Vacaville Christian, it got one.

Fifth-seeded FLC never trailed, but couldn’t shake No. 11 Vacaville Christian in a 73-53 win.



FLC will face the winner of the third-seeded Central Catholic of Modesto/No.14 Sacramento Waldorf 7 p.m. Friday.




The team with the higher seed will host.

The hosts blew VC’s doors off to start the game with a 7-0 lead after 59 seconds of play. Taylor Lawrence led the way for the hosts with all of his 11 points – including three three-pointers – in the first quarter.

Lawrence also tallied a team-high 12 rebounds.

FLC (20-9 overall) led by 12 points after the first eight minutes, but were outscored 17-8 in the second stanza to take a three-point lead into the break.

“We started of strong; then we got a little off track in the second quarter,” said FLC senior James Belch, who hit from beyond the arc six times and finished with a game-high 25 points. “Our defense was actually the problem. We were kind of slacking off on defense and they scored some easy baskets; and they got back into the game.”

Max Botner, who scored 19 points, had three steals and dished out four assists, drained a trey with 18 seconds gone in the third to put FLC up six points.

The sophomore point guard scored from beyond the arc two possessions later and converted a three-point play to spark a 21-8 FLC run.

“He was awesome. He sat out for most of the first (half); when he got back in, he was all over it,” Belch said of Botner. “That was a really big lift for the team.”

Down by 12 points, VC (13-14) mounted yet another comeback.

The visitors reeled off a 13-4 run to end the third quarter and cut the lead to seven to start the fourth.

Belch opened the scoring with a three-pointer from the right wing.

Matt Boatman added a pair of free throws at the 6:06 mark to give FLC a 62-53 lead. After that, the game was scoreless for three minutes, until the 3:03 mark, when Botner gave FLC a double-digit lead with a driving layup.

Sam Koopmans scored on the hosts’ two possessions to seal the win.


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