Bulldogs have tough road ahead, visits Sheldon Friday

By: Matt Long
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The Delta River League schedule came with a big high and a shallow low for Folsom High’s varsity boys’ basketball team. The Bulldogs opened league play on Jan. 12 with an upset win over Pleasant Grove, 47-45, but then two days later suffered a disappointing 57-34 loss to Oak Ridge. In the win over the Eagles, Folsom played solid defense and rebounded well, which was the key to victory. “We played great defense on their big guy, Aric Armstrong, which included our help defense from the weak side,” Folsom coach Frank Horwath said. “Bryson (Bryant) started on him and Rich (Olpin), Mark (Meyer) and Andrew (Nagel), basically every big guy we had, took turns on him. We were fronting him and wanted to make Pleasant Grove lob the ball to him and when they did that, we wanted our weakside defender to be in position to intercept the ball or take a charge. By limiting him we were able to shut down a lot of things that he opens up for them.” Folsom held a one-point lead with 25 seconds to go. Pleasant Grove was able to get a good shot off in the paint, but it didn’t fall as Josh Fisher secured the rebound with seven seconds left. Fisher hit one of two from the line to put Folsom up by two. The Eagles’ ensuing shot went long, giving the Bulldogs the win. “We need to protect our home court. It’s one down and there’s probably going to be nine more games just like this one. There are going to be no easy games in this league,” said Horwath. “To come back and win a close game just gives these kids the belief that if we stick with our principles and fundamentals and execute, then we can beat anybody.” Justin Woody led Folsom with 18 points. The game was delayed almost 20 minutes in the fourth quarter when Folsom center Bryson Bryant fell hard on his tailbone after going up for a rebound on a fastbreak. Bryant remained still as the Folsom Fire Department came to wheel him out on a gurney. “Bryson bruised his tailbone and was extremely sore for a day or two,” Horwath said. “We hope to have him back by Friday.” In the loss to Oak Ridge, the Bulldogs trailed 26-19 at halftime, but only managed 15 points in the second half. “We need to be patient with our offense and make the defense work and attack the basket,” said Horwath. “When we settled down and got back into attacking the basket we had a significant team foul advantage. We stopped attacking the basket and we stopped being aggressive.” Woody led his team’s scoring with nine points. Anthony Lee added eight and Drew Whitney had seven. Folsom closed out its week on Saturday with a 56-46 loss to Center. While the team played poorly in the first half, the Bulldogs came out with renewed intensity in the second half and got as close as two points to the lead before Center pulled away one final time. “In the games we’ve lost, we play well at times but then go through these stretches where we struggle and fall behind,” Horwath said. “Playing behind is physically and mentally draining. In the games we’ve won, like Pleasant Grove and Monterey Trail, we led the whole way so we’ve got to play with the lead more often.” Folsom’s next league game is at Sheldon on Friday. “There are no easy games in this league,” Horwath said. “It doesn’t get any easier with Sheldon coming up.”