Bulldogs earn 83-77 win over InderkumBy: Matt Long, Sports Editor
After three days of practice with a complete roster, Folsom High’s varsity basketball team faced Inderkum Thursday in the first round of the Rocklin Tournament.
Having Josiah Deguara, Cody Creason, Parker Boone and Markus Hendricks added to a team which had won four of its first six games only made the Bulldogs deeper and better. How would that translate on the court for the first time, however?
The Bulldogs had periods during the game when they played well and at other times they looked like a team struggling to do anything right, but in the end Folsom pulled out a 83-77 win to improve to 5-2 on the season.
“In the first half we played better than I thought we would, but in the second half we played worse,” Folsom coach Mike Wall said. “In the first half we played a solid, even keel half with good shot selection and we didn’t turn the ball over too much and didn’t let them run past us. The opposite took place in the second half.”
Folsom started off slowly, but outscored Inderkum 11-4 over the last three minutes of the first quarter to take a 20-13 lead. Gavin Smith scored five of those points, while Creason and Deguara also had baskets during the run.
Folsom continued its good play in the early portions of the second quarter, opening up a 13-point lead three minutes in with four points from Patrick Chen and three apiece by Jordan Ford and Parker Boone. The Tigers, however, went on an 11-3 run over the next three minutes to cut the lead to five before Folsom finished the quarter on a 9-4 run and led 42-32 at halftime. Deguara, Chen, Colin Russell and Zach Wolking made baskets during the run.
In the second half, the Tigers picked up the defense pressure and Folsom couldn’t handle it. Plagued by turnovers, Folsom didn’t score in the final four minutes of the third quarter and saw its 10-point lead reduced to two, 54-52, with eight minutes to play.
Inderkum tied the game at 60, 62 and 64, but Ford’s two free throws with 3:50 to play gave Folsom the lead for good, 66-64. Edwin Olympio followed with a layup in transition, before a three-pointer by Quentin Davis made the score 68-67 with 2:44 to play.
Chen, the team’s captain, stepped up with a three-point play and another bucket, scoring five straight points and increasing Folsom’s lead to six, 73-67 with 2:04 to play.
From there Folsom made 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch, four apiece by Chen and Olympio and one each by Deguara and Ford to secure the win.
Folsom finished with five players in double figures, Deguara and Chen leading the way with 17, including nine apiece in the fourth quarter. Ford finished with 13 points, while Olympio scored 12 and Wolking finished with 10.
“It’s nice to have the football players back,” Russell said. “We played over the summer so we have pretty good chemistry. We struggled in the second half when we tried to play at their tempo, but once we controlled the ball and made better decisions, we had it under control.”
“In the second half, we were very passive on offense and defense,” Wall said. “We didn’t respond to their increased intensity. We adjusted in the last six minutes on offense and didn’t turn the ball over as much and made our free throws. “
Wall said Deguara did a good job adjusting not only to moving from football to basketball, but also in becoming acclimated to varsity basketball. Wall also sang the praises of Chen.
“Patrick’s played two very good games in a row now,” Wall said. “He was great against Woodcreek and his play tonight (in the fourth quarter) went a long way in helping us win this game. He was a solidifying force.”
Folsom faces Rocklin at 8 p.m. Friday in the second round of the tournament.