Bulldogs a much different team this year than last

By: Matt Long
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This year’s varsity boys’ basketball season will be much different than last year for Folsom High. The Bulldogs, defending two-time Division I section champions, return only one player who saw significant minutes from last year’s 31-2 squad that reached the second round of the Northern California playoffs. Kori Babineaux, Folsom High’s most highly recruited-player in recent memory, will lead the team and will be one of the top players in the area. He can handle the ball, run the floor, take the ball to the hoop and hit the perimeter jumper and several Pac-10 schools are looking at him such as Oregon State, Washington State, Cal and USC. “Kori’s role is to provide offensive punch because he is a prolific scorer,” Folsom coach Mike Wall said. “He’s bigger, stronger and faster than last year and because he played a lot over the summer against phenomenal talent, that has elevated his confidence level. “His biggest strength, just as it is on the football field, is that he’s a playmaker. We need to get him the ball so he can make plays.” One big new role for the 6-foot-3 junior will be as a leader and how well he handles that responsibility will be one of many keys to the team’s success this year. “Kori will have to provide leadership in terms of making others better and helping them adjust to playing at the varsity level. I know Kori can play, but we need to make sure the other guys on the floor can play with him.” Babineaux isn’t worried about his new role as leader on the team. “I’m more confident after the summer, just getting a better feel for my teammates. I know they will look to me in certain situations. I think it will be an up-and-down year, but I still think we will be successful because we all work hard.” The Bulldogs are very young, both in experience and age. The team’s only senior is Ben Olpin, who saw limited minutes last season. Babineaux leads a junior class consisting of 11 players and the team also has a pair of sophomores. Though Olpin saw limited minutes last year, he’s a player that Wall can rely on. Junior guard Tyler Trosin will see lots of minutes, as will his brother, Tanner, and Justin Woody, a pair of sophomores who will share time with Babineaux and Tyler at guard.Marcus Hendricks, a 6’5” junior, will be a key player in the post. Andrew Nagel provides size at 6’5” and though Sean Raffetto is 6’6”, he’s never played high school basketball before. Josh Fisher and Rich Olpin are also in the mix in the front court. Guards Gurminder Dosanjh, Derek Woodward and Kyle Moeller will see time in the backcourt. Bryson Bryant, who was on the varsity team last year but saw limited playing time because of injuries, is also back on the team. With chronic knee problems still lingering, Wall said he’s unsure of when and how much Bryant will play. “We’ve got a lot of players who are alike, so it will be interesting to see how the battle for playing time ensues,” Wall said. “We’ve got a lot of players that have the same skill set and capability. “I really don’t know what to expect. I know we’ll keep getting better as the year goes on but we’re also way behind the time table where we were last year at this time. “We could be phenomenal this year or we could be mediocre or anywhere in between. It will depend on the progression of our players and our team chemistry.” JV boys split first four games The Bulldogs placed sixth at the Oakmont Tournament held last week. In the first round of the Oakmont Tournament on Thursday, Folsom lost to Del Campo, 49-39. Del Campo led 33-31 after three quarters and held Folsom to eight points in the fourth quarter to win by 10. “Del Campo dictated the tempo with their defense and pressure and we did not handle it well,” Folsom coach Frank Horwath said. “When we executed correctly, we didn’t shoot well. Although disappointing to the team, I know we will learn from this game and get better because of it.” Folsom then defeated Bella Vista easily, 61-27 in the second round on Friday. The Bulldogs outscored the Broncos 17-3 in the second quarter and never looked back. Drew Whitney led the way with 18 points, while Travis Perkins and Anthony Masini both scored 10. Folsom ended the tournament with a 53-47 loss to Oakmont. The team led 38-36 after three quarters, but couldn’t hold on as the host Vikings outscored them 17-9 in the fourth quarter to win the game. Despite the loss, Evan Woodruff and Perkins led the team with 13 points. The boys opened the season on Dec. 1 against Bethel and won easily, 71-47. “Our goals were to play very intense, tough basketball, execute what we’ve practiced and be sure and confident without taking chances,” Horwath said. Eight of the team’s nine players scored in the win. Perkins led the way with 15 points.