Folsom teams increase lead in Sierra Foothill League with wins over Oak Ridge

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Folsom’s basketball teams distanced themselves from their closest rivals on Friday night.

By picking up wins over second place Oak Ridge, the Folsom varsity girls’ and boys’ basketball teams extended their leads in the Sierra Foothill League.

Courtesy of their 46-36 win, the varsity girls’ improved to 8-0 in league and 20-3 overall, while Oak Ridge fell to 6-2 in league and 12-11 overall.

Folsom’s varsity boys also have a two-game lead now, as they are now 7-1 in league and 20-4 overall. Oak Ridge, after losing 51-43 to Folsom, fell to 5-3 in league and 15-8 overall.

In the girls’ game, while Oak Ridge played Folsom tougher than they did in the first round of league play, Oak Ridge’s poor shooting, combined with Folsom’s strong defense, limited the team to only 36 points. Not many teams that score less than 40 points win.

The Bulldogs didn’t shoot well either, but outscored Oak Ridge by 12 points in the first three quarters to lead 33-21 heading into the fourth quarter. While the Trojans held the advantage there, 15-13, Folsom had a big enough cushion to win the game.

The Trojans trailed for all but the opening minutes of the game, falling behind by as many as 15 points early in the fourth quarter. Much like the first game between the two teams, however, perimeter shooting got them back in the game in the fourth quarter. Aubrielle Martin scored nine straight points on three three-point baskets in less than a minute to turn a 15-point deficit to six points, 36-30, with 5:41 to play. That’s as close as the Trojans got to the lead, however.

Folsom countered the run with five straight points to push the lead back to 11 with 3:45 to play. Parker Gordon, who played a fine game defensively, made a steal and a layup, and McKenzie Forbes followed with a free throw before Shayley Harris knocked down two to put Folsom back in control with momentum, 41-30. Oak Ridge wouldn’t get any closer than eight points the rest of the way.

“It’s always a defensive battle with Oak Ridge,” Folsom coach Lynn Wolking said. “With it being senior night and with the big crowd, I think we were playing with a nervous energy and didn’t shoot very well. We got a lot of steals, but then we missed a lot of layups. Fortunately, we made enough plays to stay on top. Defensively, we were strong and that was the key to the game.”

Forbes led the team with 16 points, while Charity Gallegos finished with 11. Martin led the Trojans with 10 points. Brittany Belanger scored eight, while Marie Olson finished with six.

The boys’ game was slightly more competitive, and came down to the fourth quarter. While Folsom led by seven-to-10 points most of the game, the Trojans finally made a strong push for the lead in the fourth quarter. Trailing 39-31 with eight minutes to play, the Trojans scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to one, 39-38, with 4:43 to play. Spencer Duane scored the first four points and Tyler VanderVeer followed with a three-pointer to bring the game as close as it had been since Oak Ridge trailed 9-8 with 2:08 to play in the first quarter.

ElJay Gallegos knocked down a three-pointer midway through the quarter, as Folsom led by four. Jayce McCain hit a free throw before Cade Hoppe’s basket inside with 2:50 to play made it a one-possession game, 43-40, with 2:50 to play.

A free throw by Martis Johnson with 1:59 to play put Folsom in front by four. Folsom’s defense then took over. Gallegos made a steal before the Trojans had the ball five-feet up the court and got the ball to McCain who finished the play. The next time down the court, Oak Ridge’s Koelbe DiMauro drove to the hoop, but his shot was swatted away by Mason Forbes. From there, the Bulldogs made five-of-six free throws to win the game 51-43.

Oak Ridge coach Rich Sondhi was disappointed with the officiating on more than one level.

“Folsom won the game fair and square,” Sondhi said. “They’re a good team and deserved to win, but we had 24 fouls called on us and they had seven. I think in games like this when first-place in league is on the line, you should let both teams best players play. They didn’t let Cade play, He played less than a quarter.

“And the block at the end of the game was clearly goaltending. It doesn’t get any clearer than that.”

Folsom coach Mike Wall enjoyed the game and was happy to get the win.

“Both teams played extremely hard and the intensity and effort was outstanding,” Wall said. “Our shooting was atrocious, but our defense and inside game were good. I’m proud of our effort.”

Though disappointed to lose, Sondhi was happy with how his team played.

“Our defense has really come on,” Sondhi said. “We basically held them in the 40s before we started to foul, so I’m pleased with our defense and the way we competed. Offensively, we missed a lot of threes, and just shot too many quick shots. We’ve got to work the ball better.”

Folsom had three scorers reach double digits, as McCain led the way with 15 followed by 14 from Forbes and 13 from Johnson. VanderVeer led the Trojans with 10 points. Hoppe and Duane finished with eight, while DiMauro and Landon Woodwick scored six.