PREP BASKETBALL: Forest Lake Christian crushes Stockton Christian, advances to D-VI semifinals (PHOTO GALLERY) | TheUnion.com

PREP BASKETBALL: Forest Lake Christian crushes Stockton Christian, advances to D-VI semifinals (PHOTO GALLERY)

Forest lake Christian's Ellie Wood leads the fast break during Thursday's playoff game against Stockton Christian. Wood scored seven points, grabbed 10 rebounds, nabbed nine steals and doled out six assists.
Photo by John Hart

The Lady Falcons from Forest Lake Christian took flight in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoffs on Thursday, and did so in dominant fashion.

With their usual suffocating defense and up-tempo offense, the No. 2 seed Lady Falcons pounded No. 7 Stockton Christian, 71-30, at Schoellerman Court, despite having just seven active players.

“Our team is all not here right now and we wanted to play for them, do it for them,” said FLC senior post player Jessi Dreschler. “Our team is such a band of sisters, we love each other so much and would do anything for each other, so we wanted to get this win for them.”

Forest Lake Christian led 20-7 after one quarter and took a 37-16 advantage into halftime. The Lady Falcons’ relentless attack continued into the third quarter as they pushed the lead to 61-24 before taking their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter.

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“Our speed in the game was the difference,” said Dreschler, who scored 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the win. “We kept pushing and pushing, and they were not ready for that. They weren’t expecting what we had.”

FLC head coach John McDaniel applauded his team’s effort after the game.

“I don’t think you can put it into words,” he said. “You don’t know what their bodies are going through and what they have to push through. They have all been sick lately, the whole crew and we were down to five kids, a couple days we had three kids at practice, so for them to come out and put forth that kind of effort and intensity, it’s impressive.”

Leading the FLC charge was senior Amber Jackson, who scored a game-high 26 points on 13-of-18 shooting. The talented and athletic guard also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win.

Jackson is averaging 21.6 points per game this season, and has now scored 20-points or more in nine of her last 11 games.

Sadie Whaley also shined offensively. The freshman guard scored 20 points in her first career postseason game.

“Sadie hadn’t played much basketball until this season, so her exponential growth has been obvious,” said McDaniel. “She had a couple early games where her athleticism took over and she had a spark. Then we had a run where we played some tough teams and she had to adjust to the pace, speed and level. And, now her defense is top notch, she can score the ball and I think she’s one of the elite players in our league.”

Senior guard Ali McDaniel ran the offense with precision, doling out 11 assists to go with six points. The skilled point guard also pulled down seven rebounds and nabbed six steals.

Junior guard Ellie Wood led the team defensively with 10 rebounds and nine steals. She also scored seven points and dished out six assists.

“A lot of assists, a lot of ball pressure, a lot of defensive intensity,” said John McDaniel, whose team tallied 21 steals and 20 assists in the win. “Our girls know that we may not be able to put points up all the time, but you can always play tough D. They take that to heart, especially since we lost to Futures. Since that game, they realized that some games we will be off and you got to play D every game, and they’ve been doing it ever since.”

Since the Lady Falcons’ loss to Futures, 41-40, Jan. 14, they have won eight straight games and are allowing just 23.8 points per game.

“Our defense is pretty dominant and if we can keep that up and keep pushing, no one will be ready for our pace,” said Dreschler.

Next up for the Lady Falcons is a semifinal bout at home at 7 p.m. Monday against No. 3 Sacramento Adventist (25-4), which beat No. 6 Foresthill, 40-35, on Thursday. In Monday’s other D-VI semifinal, No. 1 Valley Christian (22-1) is hosting No. 4 Ripon Christian (16-10).

FLC has reached the Section’s D-VI title game the past two seasons, but came away as the runner up both times. The Lady Falcons fell to Ripon Christian, 52-46, in 2018, and lost to Valley Christian, 56-50, last season.

“We got to hunker down,” said John McDaniel of his team’s approach to postseason play. “For us, it’s all about defense.”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.


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