Another Folsom, Oak Ridge meeting?

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Folsom’s and Oak Ridge’s varsity girls’ basketball teams played a hard-fought game Friday, which Oak Ridge won, 40-30.

Chances are the Sierra Foothill League rivals could be playing again Thursday. Folsom earned the fourth seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs, while Oak Ridge is seeded fifth. Folsom opens the playoffs Tuesday against 13th-seed Monterey Trail, while Oak Ridge plays host to 12th-seeded Davis. If the seeds hold true, Thursday night’s game at Folsom will be a good one.

Folsom defeated Oak Ridge, 47-39, on Jan. 18 in a game that Oak Ridge led until the fourth quarter. The Trojans avenged the loss last Friday.

“I’m really surprised the section would do that considering we just played them and that we’re league rivals in the strongest league in Sacramento,” Folsom coach Lynn Wolking said Sunday. “If we both make it to Thursday, one of us will be eliminated.

“If it happens, it will certainly be exciting. In games like that, your star players have to play like star players and Teagan Brown certainly did that for Oak Ridge on Friday.”

Oak Ridge coach Steve White said he was surprised as well.

“We have to get by Davis first, which won’t be easy,” White said. “I’m glad we got the fifth seed. I’d rather be the fifth seed and have to play Folsom than be the sixth seed and miss the at large bid to Nor-Cals.”

Cosumnes Oaks is seeded sixth. The Wolfpack won the Delta League with a 12-0 record, while Oak Ridge finished tied for second in the SFL, but the Trojans defeated Cosumnes Oaks Dec. 22, 51-35.

The Bulldogs are the Sierra Foothill League champs but enter the playoffs with two straight losses against Del Oro and Oak Ridge, scoring only 62 points in the two games. Wolking feels the section seeded the top-four seeds correctly, but obviously wishes his team would have won at least one of their final two games, if not both.

“We put ourselves in the position to be fourth,” Wolking said.

Varsity boys

The Bulldogs wanted one of the top-two seeds and got the second seed behind Sheldon. Mike Wall was happy about that.

“It’s about what I thought,” Wall said. “We would have been very disappointed to get the third seed. If we win, we get three home games, and we avoid Sheldon until the final.”

There is no guarantee the Bulldogs will make it to the finals in the tough Division I field. Folsom opens the playoffs Wednesday against Bear Creek, who defeated Pleasant Grove in the play-in game on Monday. Pleasant Grove nearly beat Folsom in December, losing only by two points on a buzzer-beating basket by DeShawn Lynch. In round two, Folsom would see seventh-seeded Franklin or 10th-seeded Gregori.

“Franklin has beat Sheldon and Jesuit, the number-one and number-four seeds,” Wall said. “If we play them, they certainly won’t be intimidated and won’t feel like they shouldn’t win. It’s not a team we can afford to take lightly.”

Oak Ridge is seeded fifth in the bracket and open the playoffs Wednesday at home against 12th-seeded Kennedy. A win over the Cougars would likely see the Trojans face fourth-seeded Jesuit. The Trojans have 11 losses this season, but four of them came by a total of eight points. Oak Ridge has the talent to play with the top teams; they just have to find a way to win the close games.

“I’m really happy to be the fifth seed, because I thought they could have seeded us seventh,” Oak Ridge coach Rich Sondhi said. “The teams they could have put in front of us – Capital Christian and Franklin – we beat both of them so I’m glad they took that into consideration. Kennedy is a good team so we can’t look past them. If we make it to Friday, Jesuit is one of the better teams in Sacramento, so that would be a big challenge. They’re in a strong league – the only team to beat them was Sheldon – and they’re playing well right now.”