Folsom basketball teams win two tournaments with two MVPs

By: Matt Long of the Telegraph
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Folsom High’s basketball teams started off their season in fine fashion, as both the varsity girls’ and boys’ teams won their respective tournaments.

The girls, playing at Elk Grove High in the Bill Cartwright Classic, rolled to three wins over high-caliber teams Franklin, Antelope and Christian Brothers. The boys, playing in Reno, defeated Douglas, Liberty and then Bishop Gorman to win the Wild West Shootout. Bishop Gorman entered the game as the second-ranked team in Nevada. Folsom’s McKenzie Forbes and Martis Johnson also brought home Most Valuable Player honors from the respective tournaments.

All three of Folsom’s opponents at the Cartwright Classic were ranked in the top-20 and the Bulldogs whipped all three by at least 27 points.

“Our leadership and focus is so good on this team that I just step back and let them play,” Folsom coach Lynn Wolking said. “At timeouts, I let them talk it out themselves, before I get in there and say what I have to say. This group is extremely motivated.

“We’ve got size as well as talented guards and we played three different type of opponents three different ways. We can full-court press you, or we can sit back in a zone. We broke the press ourselves and also shot the ball well.”

Folsom trailed Franklin early 11-2 before rattling off 20-plus points in a row to gain control of the game. Forbes led the team with 17 points, while Parker Gordon scored 11. In the 78-44 win over Antelope, Hanna Beckman scored 23 to lead the team. Forbes added 18 points, while Shayley Harris scored 14 points and had 13 rebounds. In the tournament finale against Christian Brothers, Forbes went off for 26 points, while Beckman added 12.

“Our transition offense was great at this tournament, and we played with a lot of pace,” Wolking said. “We can score the ball. We also play with great tenacity.”

Folsom plays in a tournament at Roseville High School Thursday through Saturday.

On the boys’ side, Folsom opened up with a 79-19 win over Douglas and then got by Liberty, 98-64. Mason Forbes dominated inside in the win with 25 points, while only playing in the first three quarters.

The big win of the weekend came Saturday against Gorman. The highly-touted team fell behind the Bulldogs 21-8 after the first quarter and the Bulldogs held on for a 68-61 victory over Nevada’s second-ranked team.

“We played very good Folsom basketball this weekend,” Folsom coach Mike Wall said. “Pressure defense, and sharing the ball on offense. The guys played with confidence and played well.”

Bishop Gorman’s Jamal Bey, who’s headed to the University of Washington next year on a scholarship, led the Gaels. Bey was also responsible for defending Johnson, and Folsom’s 6-3 forward dropped 30 points and took the MVP honors.

“Martis was just awesome,” Wall said. “Bey is a legit player headed to Washington who is a leaper; he can hit the three and has a step-back jumper and Martis outplayed him.

“For the team, we had a big lead, and then Mason got in foul trouble and they started coming back on us. We were able to right the ship. That was a big learning moment for us.”

Things don’t get any easier this week, as the Bulldogs play in the Gridley Invitational, which Wall called one of the premier tournaments in Northern California. Folsom opens with Capital Christian on Thursday. The tournament includes the best of the best including Sheldon and Woodcreek on Folsom’s side of the bracket and Archbishop Mitty, Dublin, Salesian, and host Gridley on the other side.