PREP BASKETBALL: Lady Falcons edge past Sacramento Adventist in D-VI playoffs, punch ticket to semifinals |

PREP BASKETBALL: Lady Falcons edge past Sacramento Adventist in D-VI playoffs, punch ticket to semifinals


Stat leaders

FLC: Amber Jackson – 21 points, 7 steals

FLC: Lily Sween – 10 points, 13 rebounds

FLC: Ali McDaniel – 9 points, 7 rebounds

The Forest Lake Christian girls basketball team celebrated Valentine’s Day with a home win over Sacramento Adventist, 51-38, in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoffs.

Despite a monumental opening quarter, the Lady Falcons struggled in the middle of the game and it took a series of clutch plays to pull out the exciting win.

The No. 1 seed Lady Falcons (21-5) took it to the No. 8 Capitals (17-8) in the opening quarter, consistently frustrating and disrupting the opposing offense and capitalizing on the fast break to the tune of 10 points off of turnovers. Forest Lake Christian looked as though it might coast to an easy victory after a 21-3 opening quarter, but the Capitals proved to be up to the challenge, and behind an extraordinarily loud and enthusiastic visiting crowd, outscored the Falcons by 15 in the second and third quarters to cut the lead to just three heading into the last period of play.

The momentum shift was palpable, and as the away crowd got louder, the lead got smaller, culminating in a tie game, 38-38, with five minutes remaining in the game.

The suspense was total over the next few minutes; sophomore Ellie Wood broke the deadlock with a contested 3-pointer, and following a critical stop and score for the Lady Falcons, junior Amber Jackson jumped a Capitals inbounds pass for her seventh steal of the game and put FLC up seven with her layup.

The tension finally broke for the home supporters after a clutch put back score by senior Lily Sween, who recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Ali McDaniel secured the win for Forest Lake with four key made free throws in the closing moments, and the Lady Falcons punched their ticket to the next round.

Jackson was a key contributor for the Falcons, filling up the stat sheet with 21 points, three rebounds and seven steals.

Particularly on the fast break, the Lady Falcons were able to take advantage of their pace and hustle, and finished the night with 17 team steals.

“Our defense dictates our offense, because we get most of our points on the fast break,” said FLC head coach John McDaniel, adding that his team lost their poise during the extended Capitals scoring run. “We let the crowd get in our heads, and it took away all of our intensity on defense.”

Despite the impressive run from Sacramento Adventist and the ensuing momentum shift, which McDaniel said was an important lesson for his team in their first playoff game of the season after their opening round bye, the Lady Falcons rediscovered their poise and finished the game with a series of necessary, clutch plays.

On the strategy for the upcoming playoff games for his team, McDaniel emphasized attacking the rim, continuing to run hard on the fast break and maintaining their pace and poise.

“We need to do what we do and not let other teams dictate to us,” he said. “They dictated the pace for two quarters, and we normally dictate the pace. It starts on defense, but let our lack of performance on offense carry over to our defensive side.”

Ultimately, McDaniel believes this test will prove to be a valuable experience for the Lady Falcons as they continue their push toward the title.

“The girls just need to learn from it, but these girls are amazing and I told them it was a great game for us because we got an early test,” said McDaniel.

“I like the way that these girls finished out the game, that was important. I mean, they could have folded, you’re at your home court and there’s all this noise. They could have folded.”

The Lady Falcons didn’t fold, and now they’re moving on in the playoffs. Next up, FLC will host No. 4 Ripon Christian at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Kael Newton is a Nevada County native and freelance journalist for The Union. He can be reached at or @KaelNewton on Twitter.

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