Forest Lake Christian founders on Ripon Christian’s rocks
The Forest Lake Christian boys basketball team’s hopes for a repeat trip to Arco Arena and a Sac-Joaquin Division V finals were dashed on the court of Modesto Junior College Tuesday.
The sixth-seeded Falcons, 21-10 overall, which made school history with last year’s trip to the big dance, lost 70-57 to No. 7 Ripon Christian.
The win sent the Knights (19-13), who were upset by the Falcons in last year’s semifinal, to Arco and a showdown with the winner of the top-seeded Denair and No. 2 Victory Christian.
“Last year, we didn’t think anyone could stop us. We were overconfident and lost it,” said Ripon Christian guard Chris Merrill. “We kind of started out slow this year and we just kind of snuck up on everybody.”
Max Botner, and fellow Falcon starters Colin Harman and James Belch, had to sit most of the second quarter due to foul trouble, and the Knights took full advantage of the situation.
Ripon Christian outscored the Falcons 16-11 in that quarter and took an eight-point lead to the break.
“It’s tough when you have three of your captains on the bench. They got into foul trouble early, and I had to pull them. I think they only played a total of one minute in that quarter,” said Forest Lake coach Davin Johnson.
The Falcons were led by Botner’s team-high 19 points. Belch finished with nine points.
Harman had eight points and Nate Cowing chipped in six.
Ripon Christian built a 14-point lead late in the third quarter, but the Falcons weren’t done yet.
Harman scored from the post, Cowing hit from the outside and Botner drained some clutch free throws to cut the lead in half with three minutes left on the clock in the final quarter.
The Falcons were forced to foul, but the Knights hit five of seven from the charity stripe down the stretch to seal the win.
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