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Bulldogs advance to Nor-Cal semis

Defeat Skyline 88-74 behind Kori Babineaux's 26 points
By: Matt Long
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Folsom’s goal all season was the get further than last year’s team. Mission accomplished. The Bulldogs put an offensive display on Tuesday night at home, scoring 88 points in an 88-74 win over Skyline. The Bulldogs now advance to the Northern California semifinals against Monte Vista. Game time is 7 p.m. on Thursday. Kori Babineaux, perhaps making up for only scoring three points in the section championship game against Franklin on Saturday, scored 26 to lead Folsom, scoring every which way on jumpers and drives to the basket, in transition and from the line. “Whoever’s hot we just get them the ball, whether it’s me or not,” Babineaux said. “I was just pulling it and they were going in. It was a good one.” While Babineaux didn’t bring up Saturday’s game, his coach, Mike Wall, did. “I think Kori had something to prove after Arco,” Wall said. “He’s a competitor and he played a heck of a game. He was aggressive early and was using his body and being assertive and that’s his game.” Folsom weathered Skyline’s storm in the first quarter and led 17-15 after eight minutes of play. With the nerves of the Nor-Cal playoffs behind them, from the second quarter on it was all Bulldogs. Folsom outscored the Titans 20-12 in the second quarter with Patrick Akins leading the way with nine, while Babineaux added seven. Skyline got as close as seven points in the third quarter, 45-38, but Folsom outscored the Titans 15-7 to rest of the quarter to lead comfortably by 15 with one quarter to play, 60-45. Making the performance even more impressive was the fact that Tony Johnson picked up his third foul and took a seat on the bench with Folsom leading by 12 with 4:58 to play in the quarter. When he returned at the very end of the quarter, he assisted on a Tucker Horwath basket at the buzzer that put Folsom up by 15. With Johnson the bench, Babineaux continued his offensive onslaught with nine points in the quarter, while Folsom’s defensive whiz Jordan Richards did the job on both ends of the court in Johnson’s absence. Folsom slammed the door on Skyline in the fourth quarter, never letting them back in the game. Brandon Babineaux was the beneficiary of Folsom’s transition game, as he scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, most coming on the fastbreak. Without a doubt, the most exciting basket of the game came with 2:26 to play when the Bulldogs were on a 2-on-1 break with the Babineaux brothers leading the way. With Brandon sprinting to the hoop, Kori lobbed an underhand toss to his brother, who grabbed it with one hand and slammed it through the hoop, sending the packed house out of their seats. “Anytime I see Kori on the break, I sprint down there,” Brandon said. “I wanted to do something for the crowd. We’ve been working on that since we were playing on three-foot rims all the way up to 10-foot rims.” Kori added, “Everyone’s always harassing us at school, ‘when are you going to get an alley-oop?’ We had to get one for them.” Johnson followed Babineaux’s 26-point effort with 18 of his own with another solid playoff performance. He was also impressed with his teammate’s performance. “Kori couldn’t miss,” Johnson said. “Everything was going in for him tonight.” Brandon Babineaux ended the game with 14 points, while Akins contributed 13 and Horwath chipped in eight. Folsom is looking forward to playing Monte Vista on Thursday, the team that has given them its only loss of the season on Dec. 6, 58-45. “They’re point guard had a phenomenal game against us the first time and he was the MVP of the tournament,” Wall said. “This game will be a battle royal.” Johnson is looking forward for the rematch. “Their point guard, Brian Barbour, scored 29 points on us and I can’t wait to play them again,” Johnson said. “I think we’ll be comfortable playing them at this time of the season and I think it will be a good match-up.”