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Bulldogs reach semis

Face Edison at 4 p.m. Thursday at Arco Arena
By: Matt Long
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So we meet again. Folsom High's varsity boys basketball team faces a familiar foe in Thursday's Division I playoff semifinal at Arco Arena. The fifth-seeded Bulldogs will play eighth-seeded Edison at 4 p.m., the team that eliminated the Bulldogs from last year's playoff in the section semis. Folsom (22-7) defeated fourth-seeded Downey on Tuesday night, 68-56, to advance to Arco, while Edison (21-8) upset top-seeded Merced in overtime. Edison is a lot like they were last year, Folsom coach Mike Wall said. They're athletic and aggressive and they've got a good 3-point shooter. Number 32 (Willie Williams), the guy who hurt us last year, is back and he's better. Except for a five-minute stretch to end the third quarter and to start the fourth, Folsom controlled Downey and won fairly easily. Defensive intensity was the difference, as Folsom made the Knights work for everything they got, which wasn't much, particularly in the first half. Downey didn't score until nearly five minutes of the game clock had expired and after the first quarter Folsom led 12-6. The Knights didn't do much better in the second quarter, scoring nine points, as the Bulldogs held a 28-15 lead at the break. Our defensive intensity, particularly in the first half, was great while our offense was struggling, Wall said. Our defense kept us in the game and carried us because Downey couldn't score. Our game plan was to pressure them and make them make plays in the face of our pressure and it was effective. Midway through the third quarter Folsom led 37-20, but the Knights went on a 13-2 run to end the quarter and only trailed 39-33 with eight minutes to play. Downey got as close as four points, 41-37, with 7:18 to play, but Folsom got back on track and went on a 13-2 run of their own and led 54-39 with 3:20 to play. Folsom made all 10 of its free throws the rest of the game to seal the win. Ben Palmer scored 17 points to lead the way, while Tony Johnson added 14. Brandon Babineaux chipped in 10 points and did a great job on the boards. Scott Moore and Kori Babineaux both added seven points, while Patrick Akins scored five and Tucker Horwath and Paul Moeller scored four. We were composed and everybody played solidly, Wall said. Everyone that came in pitched in; they weren't just filling space.