Threemendous – Falcons win third straight section championship
SACRAMENTO – Forest Lake Christian fans on hand hoping to celebrate their Falcons’ third-straight Sac-Joaquin Section championship might have walked out of ARCO Arena Friday night a bit disappointed.
Oh, the defending state champion Falcons won, 75-50, routing Central Valley Christian League rival Sacramento Waldorf for the third time this season. But the scene after FLC scored a Division V three-peat, was hardly much of a party.
There were plenty of high fives, hugs and smiles shared along the Falcon bench, but the celebration was certainly one subdued.
“Of course, this still means something,” said FLC junior Taylor Kilgore, who was presented the section’s sportsmanship award for the second straight season. “But it’s just another step. Our goal all season long has been to win another state championship. So, this is just another step, just another game at ARCO, just another day, just another win.”
It was a win that also wasn’t ever much in doubt.
The Falcons (26-5) sped out to a 12-3 lead in the first five minutes of action, thanks to five points from senior Brooke Hodges and four more from junior Olympia Jacobs. FLC maintained that margin the rest of the way, leading 24-11 after one quarter and 38-24 at halftime.
Hodges scored 10 of her 18-point total in the first quarter.
“We’re kind of used to playing at ARCO,” said Hodges, who has now hit the hardwood home of the Sacramento Kings five times in her career as a member of the Falcons. “That’s the one thing that’s changed (since FLC’s first section title in 2003). It’s not as a big deal for us as it was in the beginning. We’re more relaxed out there and we go out ready to play.”
Four Falcons found double digits in scoring, including junior Olympia Jacobs who scored a team-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Kilgore, who buried 4-of-6 three-pointers, and junior classmate Brittany Allen each scored 14 points. FLC freshman Kylie Miraldi grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, while Hodges added 11 boards as the Falcons also beat the Waves on the glass with 51 rebounds to Waldorf’s 37.
“I think so. I think we played well, except for the fouls,” said FLC head coach Steve Kellar, who watched Allen and Kilgore foul out. “You can always improve, but I thought it was a hard-fought, well-played game.”
It was the aggressive defensive play of Jacobs and sophomore Jesse Clough that kept Sacramento Waldorf’s leading scorer, Jake Kelly, in check. Kelly, who led the CVCL with a 22.7 points per game average, scored a game-high 28 points Friday, but the junior made just 7 of 30 shots on the night.
“We know she’s going to score her points,” Kellar said. “We’re more concerned with how many shots she shoots to get them. That’s the goal with her, to make sure she has to work really hard to get her points.”
Forest Lake Christian’s balanced scoring attack and tight defense was so dominant that the Falcons’ 26 turnovers on the night had nearly no effect on the final outcome.
The Waves (25-6) did make a run at FLC in the third quarter, pulling to within 46-35 after Candace Cook drove to the bucket for a score with two minutes on the clock. But, as they did all night, the Falcons responded in swift fashion. FLC tore off an 11-0 run thereafter, making things 57-35 and leaving only the final score of the game in question.
The Falcons can now turn their full attention to defending their 2004 California Division V state championship, as FLC will open play in the NorCal portion of the state tourney next week.
Kellar said he sees no reason why his team shouldn’t be the state’s top seed.
“I expect the first team we’ll face won’t be as good as Sacramento Waldorf,” Kellar said. “I’d expect us to be the No. 1 seed. We should be the No. 1 seed. We’re the defending state champions. I think it would be a crime if we weren’t.”
Division V Championship
Forest Lake Christian 75, Sacramento Waldorf 50
SW (25-6) 11 13 11 15 – 50
FLC (26-5) 24 14 14 23 – 75
Sacramento Waldorf (50)
Morgan Roberts 1-2 0-0 2, Danica Dicus 0-9 2-4 2, Katia Cardenas 1-6 2-2 4, Candace Cook 2-10 4-5 9, Jake Kelly 7-30 8-13 28, Lisa Lindhorst 0-2 1-2 1, Megan Lui 0-1 0-0 0, Jessica Schnetz 0-1 0-0 0, Alley Pappenberger 1-1 2-2 4. Totals 12-62 19-28 50.
Forest Lake Christian (75)
Brooke Hodges 6-15 5-7 18, Jessica Clough 1-6 0-0 2, Olympia Jacobs 9-12 5-8 23, Brittany Allen 3-5 8-13 14, Taylor Kilgore 5-7 0-0 14, Jessica Lockhart 0-0 0-2 0, Katie Fletcher 0-0 0-0 0, MacKenzie Deneen 0-0 0-0 0, Kylie Miraldi 2-4 0-2 4, Megan Wisniewski 0-0 0-0 0, Lora Courtney 0-0 0-1 0, Jessica Pearce 0-1 0-0 0, Rebekkah Koopmans 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-50 18-33 75.
Three-point shooting – SW 7-23 (Kelly 6-20, Cook 1-2, Roberts 0-1); FLC 5-17 (Kilgore 4-6, Hodges 1-7, Clough 0-4).
Rebounds – SW 37 (Dicus 11, Cardenas 6, Pappenberger 5); FLC 51 (Miraldi 14, Hodges 11, Allen 8).
Turnovers – SW 16, FLC 26
Fouls – SW 21, FLC 23
Fouled out – SW: Roberts, Kelly; FLC: Allen, Jacobs.
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Hank Sowell’s introduction to the game of golf came early as a set of clubs was among the gifts he received on his very first birthday.