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Bulldogs defeat Huskies, 58-56

By: Matt Long
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Folsom High’s varsity boys’ basketball team pulled out another nail-biter of a victory on Friday night, defeating Sheldon 58-56 to improve to 6-0 in the Delta River League and all but knock Sheldon out of the league championship race. The Bulldogs, 20-1 on the season, admittedly played poorly throughout the game, but they know how to win. One way is by making free throws in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs drained seven-of-eight, including five-out-of-six in the final minute to clinch the victory. Sheldon’s Darius Nelson, who ended the game with 22 points, had a chance to tie the game with three free throws attempts with one second remaining, but missed the first one badly. After making the second, he purposely missed the third, hoping his team got a tap in, but Brandon Babineaux grabbed the board as the buzzer sounded. “The win was big, but the quality of our play was very poor,” Folsom coach Mike Wall said. “We played well in the clutch when we needed to, though, and that’s what we’ve been doing all year.” Tony Johnson gave Folsom the lead for good, 54-53, when he hit one-of-two foul shots with 33 seconds to play. Twenty seconds later, Kori Babineaux drained a pair of freebies to give the Bulldogs a 56-53 lead. Sheldon answered with a bucket by Nelson, but Tucker Horwath was fouled with eight seconds left and promptly swished his foul shots to give his team a 58-55 lead, setting up Nelson’s three attempts after being fouled by Johnson, as he tried for a steal. After the game Horwath said he knew the shots were going down. “I made a pair of free throws in overtime during the summer to win a game there and then just last week I hit some big ones against Pleasant Grove,” Horwath said. “They helped me tonight. I knew they were going in.” Johnson was kept off the scoreboard in the first half, though Folsom led 25-24 at the break. He dissected the Sheldon defense in the third quarter, though, scoring 13 of Folsom’s 17 points, including finishing a trio of and-one situations. Kori Babineaux scored the other four points, as Folsom outscored the Huskies 17-10 to take an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter, 42-34. “I just let the game come to me,” Johnson said. “I got more opportunities and more gaps opened up for me in the third quarter.” Brandon Babineaux also had a big night offensively, including dropping three 3-pointers on the Huskies, including a pair within 55 seconds of each other in the fourth quarter, turning a 47-47 tie into a 53-47 Folsom lead. “I don’t know where they came from,” Babineaux said. “I guess just shooting with Kori. I was open and I shot them. Coach doesn’t like me to shoot them but I did.” The Huskies put up a valiant fight, despite missing three key players due to injury, point guard Marcus Jackson, center Ramon Eaton and forward Aaron Howse. “They played a heck of a game and deserve some credit,” Wall said. “I know we’re going to see them again in the playoffs.” Until then, though, the Bulldogs have taken care of Sheldon. “This win was big,” Johnson said. “We put the stamp on them in terms of having a chance at the league title and that’s good because they’re one of our biggest rivals.” Folsom featured a balanced scoring attack, as it normally does, as Brandon Babineaux led the way with 15 points, while Johnson scored 14 and Kori Babineaux added 12. Horwath chipped in seven, while Patrick Akins added six. Behind Nelson’s 22 points, Tramaine Moore added 14 for the Huskies.