Folsom girls win three close games to win Dorothy Speck Tournament

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Despite limited practice time and no scrimmages because of the poor air quality, among other reasons, Folsom High’s varsity girls’ basketball team basically started its season last week about as raw as possible.

While the team showed far from midseason form, the Bulldogs managed to play well enough to win the Dorothy Speck Tournament in Davis, picking up close wins over all three opponents; Nevada Union, 36-27,  West Campus, 45-44, and McClatchy, 41-39. The wins over West Campus and McClatchy were big, as they are perennial playoff contenders.

The Bulldogs are coming off one of their best seasons ever, finishing with a 27-5 record and losing in the first round of the Nor-Cal playoffs. Gone are seniors McKenzie Forbes, Shayley Harris, and Elissa LaComb and along with great talent, an even bigger part lost was the leadership they provided, particularly from Forbes.

“McKenzie (Forbes) had amazing leadership skills,” Folsom coach Lynn Wolking said. “I knew how valuable they were and I still underestimated them. Everything in practice was about competitiveness and winning; it wasn’t about me or friendships, it was about getting better. We need our captains; Hanna, Devry  and Charity, to learn to be leaders. Who will be willing to stand up and lead instead of worrying about ‘are you my friend today.’”

Other than the wins, the best part of the tournament in Wolking’s mind was the leadership he saw from Hanna Beckman in the final two games of the tournament.

“I saw that leadership from Hanna,” Wolking said. “That’s our biggest need. After playing really poorly Thursday, we were ready to go Friday and it was an intense game against West Campus. On Saturday against McClatchy, Hanna put the team on her back with her demeanor, her voice, and her assertion. She made a comment during a timeout that got my attention, so much so that I thought she was talking to me, but she was talking to her teammates.”

In the win over West Campus, a game that was close from start to finish, Charity Gallegos led the team with 16 points, while Katie Harris played her best varsity game ever, according to Wolking, and scored 11 points.

“Her pursuit of the ball for rebounds and blocked shots was great,” Wolking said. “Beth Pettingill was also relentless on the boards and finished with 12 or 13, six of them on the offensive end.”

Folsom took the lead in the final minute of the game, and West Campus’ shot in the final seconds was off the mark, giving the Bulldogs a one-point win.

Saturday’s game against McClatchy was a different story. The Lions opened up a big lead early, before Folsom hit the comeback trail.

“McClatchy looked like an open division team to me, and I thought us being competitive would be an achievement,” Wolking said. “We were down 16-1 in the first four minutes, but then Hanna took over. We started chipping away. We went to a zone; McClatchy went cold, and we cut the lead to five by halftime. We opened up an 11-point lead in the second half and then hung on for the win.”

Wolking said Millett hit a big three-pointer and later made a steal and a layup for big points in the fourth quarter that kept the Bulldogs in front.

Gallegos was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, while Beckman and Pettingill earned all-tournament honors.

Folsom plays in the Roseville Elite Showcase tournament Thursday through Saturday at Roseville High, opening up at 6:30 p.m. Thursday against another strong team in Inderkum.