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FLC flusters Cardinals

Ben Sparling scored 24 of his career-high 29 points in the second half on Friday night to help Forest Lake Christian pull away to an important 70-53 Central Valley Christian League boys basketball victory at home against Woodland Christian.

The Falcons put together an 11-4 run early in the third quarter to take control of the game, then finished with a 23-point fourth quarter to improve its league record to 8-3 (13-9 overall) and take over third place. Woodland Christian dropped to 8-4 (13-7).

“This puts us in third place and we do have Victory Christian coming up on Tuesday, but this was one we really needed,” Forest Lake Christian coach Dave Thomas said. “It was a very good team effort. All of the boys contributed to this win.”



Nate Holt chipped in with 15 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots for the Falcons. Adam Reed also turned in a solid all-around performance with 13 points, including three 3-pointers, to go with 10 rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Andrew Ritchart also contributed 11 points and five steals.

But it was Sparling who turned up the heat in the second half, scoring 10 points in the third quarter and 14 in the fourth to help break the game open. The 5-foot-10 sophomore finished with four 3-pointers, plus he had five steals and three assists.




Sparling buried a 3-pointer off an assist from Reed to give the Falcons a 36-30 lead early in the third quarter. Then Sparling and Ritchart connected on back-to-back 3-pointers – assisted by Reed and Austin Maynard respectively – to extend the lead to 44-32 with 4:30 left in the period. The Woodland Christian Cardinals never really recovered.

Defense figured prominently for the Falcons during their second half run, according to Thomas.

“We kept rotating our defense. We came out in a 1-3-1, we tried 1-2-2, matchup, we tried what we call an amoeba, and we tried man,” the coach said. “They have good shooters and you can’t let them get into a rhythm, so we tried to keep them guessing.”

Three Woodland Christian players scored in double figures, led by Paul Gallego with 13 points. James Lindsey also scored 11 and Chris Slaven 10.

Forest Lake Christian returns to action Tuesday with a game against second-place Victory Christian in Carmichael.

Forest Lake Christian 70, Woodland Christian 53

Woodland Christian 13 13 12 15 – 53

Forest Lake Christian 19 12 16 23 – 70

Woodland Christian (53): Gallego 6 1-3 13, Saunders 3 0-0 6, Slaven 4 0-1 10, Lindsey 5 0-2 11, Taylor 2 1-2 5, Seiber 1 0-0 2, Whitehead 1 0-0 2, Toland 2 0-0 4, Totals 24 2-8 53.

Forest Lake Christian (70): HOLT 6 3-5 15, SPARLING 12 1-1 29, RITCHART 5 0-0 11, ZIEGENMEYER 1 0-0 2, REED 5 0-0 13, Totals 29 4-6 70.

Three-point goals: Woodland Christian 3 (Slaven 2, Lindsey 1); Forest Lake Christian 8 (Sparling 4, Ritchart 1, Reed 3). Team fouls: Woodland Christian 10, Forest Lake Christian 13. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.

ooo

To contact sports editor Dave Price, e-mail davidp@theunion.com or call 477-4240.


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