PREP BASKETBALL: Forest Lake Christian to host Credo in NorCal tourney opener | TheUnion.com

PREP BASKETBALL: Forest Lake Christian to host Credo in NorCal tourney opener

Fresh off their championship run through the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division VI bracket, the Lady Falcons now turn their attention to the CIF NorCal tourney. Forest Lake Christian is the No. 3 seed and is set to host the No. 6 Credo Gryphons (14-12) of Rohnert Park, in the first round at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

KNOW & GO

What: CIF NorCal D-VI Tournament

Who: No. 3 Forest Lake Christian vs. No. 6 Credo

When: 7 p.m., Wednesday

Where: Forest Lake Christian High School, 12515 Combie Rd, Auburn

After a grinding, hard-fought victory over Valley Christian in last Thursday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI Championship Game, the Lady Falcons from Forest Lake Christian took a few days off.

“I think every one of the girls after that game said they’ve never been more tired in their life,” FLC coach John McDaniel said, adding he gave the team the weekend off to enjoy the program’s first Section title since 2005.

They were back at work Monday, though, preparing for the upcoming California Interscholastic Federation’s NorCal Division VI Tournament.

Forest Lake Christian (23-5) is the No. 3 seed and is set to host the No. 6 Credo Gryphons (14-12) of Rohnert Park, in the first round at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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“It’s great,” McDaniel said about getting a home game to open the tourney. “Last year we were on the road the entire time, and that definitely took a toll both mentally and physically. Getting a home game this year is nice because I think the fans are going to be able to show up.”

Credo is into the NorCal Tourney after reaching the North Coast Section’s D-VI semifinals, where they lost to eventual champion Laytonville.

Forest Lake Christian and Credo didn’t face off in the regular season and have no common opponents.

“We’re just going to come out and play our game and hopefully they’re the ones that have to adjust,” said McDaniel.

FLC is led by a talented group veteran players, who like to put the pressure on defensively and get out and run offensively.

Leading the flock is senior guard Amber Jackson, who averages 21.3 points per game, 6.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists.

Senior point guard Ali McDaniel has been instrumental in the Lady Falcons success as well, averaging 13.5 points per game, 7.7 rebounds, 6.2 steals and 5.4 assists.

Senior forward Jessi Dreschler gives FLC strength in the paint as she averages a team best 8.8 rebounds per game to go with 4.5 points.

“There’s a core group of seniors that want to play as long as they can,” said John McDaniel. “They realize that once the last game comes, they probably won’t get to play basketball at this high of level again. So, they want to compete all the way till the end.”

FLC also has strong players in junior guard Ellie Wood (7.5 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, 4.9 steals), freshman guard Sadie Whaley (8.5 points per game) and senior guard Bella O’Neill (5.8 rebounds per game).

It’s the third-straight season in which the Lady Falcons qualified for the NorCal tourney. In 2018, they were the No. 5 seed and lost on the road in the first round to Rincon Valley Christian. They were the No. 5 seed last season as well, but shined on the road with wins over No. 4 seed California School for the Deaf, 52-50, and No. 1 seed Redding Christian, 48-47, to reach the NorCal title game. They fell to No. 2 seed Etna, 72-51, in the championship.

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


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