Big third quarter leads Folsom to come-from-behind win over Bruins, 69-61

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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A terrible first half of basketball led to a terrific third quarter, as Folsom came from behind to defeat Ponderosa, 69-61, Friday in Shingle Springs.

The Bulldogs (3-6 in league, 12-14 overall) looked like a different team in the second half, compared to the one that scored managed only 22 points in the first half. Folsom trailed 34-22 at halftime to a team that hasn’t won a Delta River League game and a team they had beaten earlier in the season by nine points.

Lukas Hendricks came to play, scoring 10 of his 14 points in the first half, as he accounted for five of Folsom’s seven field goals. Zach Wolking had the other two.

“He kept us in the game in the first half,” Folsom Coach Mike Wall said of Hendricks. “If he wasn’t scoring, I don’t know who would have done it.”

Halftime proved to be a pivotal point in the game and it happened behind closed doors.

“It was an emotional situation and it paid off,” Wall said. “We made way too many mistakes in the first half and had no fire or intensity. I challenged their desire to play the way they’re supposed to. Then they had a team meeting. I don’t know what was said, but I’ve got to find out because it worked.”

According to Folsom captain Patrick Chen, who spoke up during the player-only meeting, it wasn’t anything out of the norm.

“I told my teammates that this is the last couple of games for us and we’ve got to come out and play hard,” Chen said. “In the first half, we didn’t play defense, but in the second half we played hard and just came to play. We were more aggressive and executed our plays.”

Chen had a big role in that execution. He scored the first two buckets of the quarter, which cut Ponderosa’s lead to eight. Pardis Vakili followed with a pair of free throws and Josiah Deguara followed with two more.

Wolking later got a steal and a layup and was the fourth Folsom player to score in the quarter before three minutes had elapsed. Chen ended the 12-0 run to start the quarter with his third basket, as Folsom tied the game at 34 in a little more than three minutes of playing time.

“They just came out ready to play with a freedom and focus,” Wall said. “They were focused on doing the right thing instead of worrying about doing the wrong thing. It was refreshing to see.”

By the quarter’s end, Folsom had outscored the Bruins 27-13 and had taken a 49-47 lead. Six players scored in the quarter, led by Wolking’s seven points and Chen’s six. Deguara had five points. Colin Russell added four, while Gavin Smith knocked down a three-pointer and Vakili added a pair of free throws.

Folsom led the rest of the game, but didn’t pull away until the final three minutes. Leading by three with 3:24 to play, Folsom got another boost by Hendricks, who scored four straight points to increase Folsom’s lead to seven. Chen then knocked down a shot and Wolking followed with two free throws and Folsom held a 63-52 advantage with 1:26 to go.

Wolking led Folsom with 19 points, while Hendricks scored 14. Deguara and Chen each had 10.

Folsom finishes the regular season at home Tuesday against Jesuit.