Lions edge past Falcons in round 1
Three-hundred-sixty-five days ago Forest Lake Christian hosted Valley Christian in a first round Division V section playoff matchup. The Falcons blew out the Lions 57-33 and moved to the second round, to take on Bradshaw Christian.
One year later, Forest Lake Christian (15-10, 7-5 Central Valley Christian League) again hosted Valley Christian (17-9 overall record, 11-3 Sacramento Metro League) in a first round Division V section playoff matchup.
This time the Lions got the best of the Falcons, 63-61,to move on to the second round, to take on Bradshaw Christian.
The Lions led most of the way and stretched their lead to 14 midway through the final quarter. But the Falcons made a push to finish strong, cutting into the Valley lead by hitting three 3-point shots and outrebounding the Lions 14-6 in the quarter.
The game got really interesting as Molly Huusfeldt and Laura Ritchart missed consecutive shots with the Lions in front, 63-59. Emily English was fouled in the act after she got an offensive rebound to shoot two. She hit the first and missed the second for 63-60 with 21 seconds on the clock.
Huusfeldt got the rebound, but the ball was knocked out of bounds as she hit the floor hard. Huusfeldt was carried off and did not return to the game. The Falcons took the ball out of bounds under their own basket down by three.
FLC inbounded and passed the ball around, looking for a three-point shot for the tie, when Ritchart found the space she needed. She let it fly and was fouled, but her foot was clearly in front of the three point line. With eight seconds on the clock, the junior missed the first and hit the second attempt.
Valley Christian then made three passes to the other end of the floor and the final buzzer sounded with the final score 63-61.
“It was so scary,” said Carly Gish, who had a game-high 21 points for the Lions. ” It was nerve-wracking.”
Close basketball games usually come down to the charity stripe and this one was no different, as the Lions took 11 foul shots, making seven, in the fourth quarter of play.
“Our foul shooting was a lot better tonight than it has been,” Valley Christian coach Kim Contreras said.
On the opposite end, Falcons shot 12, hitting five.
“When we shoot free throws in practice, it’s important.” FLC coach Linda Clough said.
The home team shot 7-of-22 in the fourth quarter and 22-for-62 in the game. Maggie Aubuchon led the Falcons with 16, while Ritchart scored 14, English 12, Huusfeldt 10 and Sterling Marich added nine.
“She never gives up,” Clough said about Aubuchon. “Total team player, very encouraging. She is wonderful.”
Forest Lake Christian not only defeated Valley Christian two times during the regular season, it had also knocked them out in the first round of the playoffs in the last two consecutive seasons.
“This is the first time our girls have been past the first round,” Contreras said. “Third time is the charm. We beat them the third time we played them this season and the third time in the playoffs.”
The Falcons are young, only losing seniors Samantha Camacho and Morghan Pomeroy. Pomeroy did not play Tuesday due to another commitment.
“It is a disappointing loss,” Clough said. “We are young and have the fortune to come back next year with quite a bit of experience in close games, with a combination of talent and experience in us next season.”
On Thursday, the Lions will travel to defending section champ Bradshaw Christian, which pummeled Lodi Academy 85-10 Tuesday. The Pride (19-8, 14-0 Sac. Metro League) came in to the playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
Bradshaw Christian did defeat Valley Christian 62-37 in its last regular season game.
The Lions will need to find away to slow down San Diego basketball signee Cheyenne Williams (6 feet, 2 inches), who has averaged 16 points 10 rebounds and three blocks per game.
Ashlee Jones 13 points with five steals, Lauren Beyer 13 points and as a team have put 56 per game on the scoreboard. Last season Forest Lake was sent packing by Williams and friends in the second round of the playoffs with a final score of 78-27.
Contact Sports Writer Scott P. Hopper via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4231.
Valley Christian 63, Forest Lake Christian 61
VC (17-9) 14 20 14 15 63
FLC (15-10) 10 13 16 19 61
Valley Christian (63)
Heather Frank 2 4-8 8, Midori Bounds 5 2-2 15, Carly Gish 6 6-12 21, Mandy Vail 1 0-0 2, Samantha Shoemake 7 3-3 17. Totals 21 15-25 63.
Forest Lake Christian (61)
Hannah Masterson 0 0-4 0, Molly Huusfeldt 2 4-7 10, Samantha Camacho 0 0-0 0, Laura Ritchart 5 1-3 14, Sterling Marich 4 0-0 9, Emily Woodward 0 0-0 0, Maggie Aubuchon 7 2-2 16, Emily English 4 4-5 12. Totals 22 11-21 61.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.