Third time not a charm for Granite Bay, as Folsom advances to Division I semis

By: Jeremy McDonald for the Telegraph
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Granite Bay was hoping the third time would be the charm to defeat Folsom Friday night with a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals and a Nor-Cal playoff berth on the line for the winner.

For three quarters, the ninth-seed Grizzlies battled the first-seed Bulldogs tough, but that was until Jordan Ford went for 14 points to spark Folsom to a 61-54 victory to set up a date with Pleasant Grove Wednesday.

“We started off really slow,” said Folsom Coach Mike Wall. “I thought in the fourth quarter, it really went in our direction. We got more makes; we were making all of our free throws and that kind of stretched it out.  We were going to the basket a lot and that got them into foul trouble and created more momentum for us.”

Granite Bay battled Folsom hard on their home court, but something had to give entering the fourth with Folsom up four.

Enter Ford.

Ford went on a 14-point tear in the frame that sparked a 8-2 Bulldog run to give Folsom a 48-40 lead with less than five minutes to go.

“Just locking up on (defense),” said Ford.  “We had a lot of good sparks off the bench, but that’s just who we are. We come out fighting for four quarters and that’s why were so hard to beat.”

That fight remained for the last five minutes, as the Bulldogs would not surrendered the lead, holding off Grizzlies last-ditch desperation to come back.

“It burns,” said Charlie Tooley, who finished with eight points and four rebounds for Granite Bay. “Because we knew we had them and it just slipped away with a couple of turnovers. We played our hearts out and we did all we could do.”

The experience will inspire the younger guys to work harder, said Grizzlies Coach Jason Sitterud.

 “I’m proud of my guys,” he said. “We had a senior class that worked tremendously hard and our juniors have to do the same thing next year. We’ll just build to get better.

Down 7-0 four minutes into the game, Folsom’s Alec Andrews sparked a 19-5 tear for the Bulldogs to take a 19-12 lead with momentum on their side with 5:27 to play.

“We went on a 13-0 run,” said Wall. “I thought our energy really picked up and our defensive aggressiveness made them make a lot of mistakes: rushed the game, picked up steam and that’s how we like to play.”

Granite Bay would answer, however, behind Tooley and Darren Nelson. The Grizzlies slowed down the game and chipped away at the Folsom lead to 25-24 by halftime as momentum was thrown back into play.

Jared Wall led the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Nelson had a game high 17 points to go with seven rebounds.