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Bulldogs rise to the occasion with big 60-52 win over Jesuit

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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In their biggest game of the season, Folsom High’s varsity boys’ basketball team played their best, defeating Jesuit, 60-52, on the road Friday.

The win bettered Folsom’s playoff chances, as the Bulldogs improved to 2-3 in the Delta River League and 11-11 overall. The Marauders fell to 1-4 in league and 10-12 overall.

Folsom, with about 50 enthusiastic and energetic members of the Dawg Pack cheering them on, held its biggest lead of 15 points in the final minute of the third quarter, but had their offense go cold in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. The Marauders scored the last basket of the third quarter and the first 10 points of the fourth to cut a 15-point deficit to three. Zach Wolking ended the scoring drought with a free throw and Jordan Ford followed with the team’s first bucket with 4:09 to play, giving the Bulldogs a 50-44 lead.

A banked-in three-pointer from the wing by Isaiah Bailey with 1:42 to play brought the Marauders to within two points, 52-50, but that’s as close as they would get.

Wolking drained a three-pointer with 46 seconds remaining and good full-court defense forced a Marauder turnover, which put Folsom back in control of the ball. Wolking was fouled and knocked down a pair of free throws with 37 seconds remaining to put Folsom up 57-50.

Bailey scored his team’s final points on a tip-in off a missed shot with 22 seconds remaining. Patrick Chen made a free throw and Edwin Olympio finished off the scoring with a breakaway dunk, as the Bulldogs outscored Jesuit 8-2 in the final two minutes of the game.

“It’s the best we’ve played all year and it was in the biggest game,” Folsom coach Mike Wall said. “Ponderosa was our first playoff game (last Friday) and this was our second.”

Following the game, Wall sent the team over to celebrate with their classmates, whose support was not only greatly appreciated, but also needed.

“We had a great crowd against Pondo and we had a promotion with these T-shirts to get them to come tonight because we knew we needed a big crowd and we wanted to keep the momentum rolling. They were great tonight and next Friday we’ve got Oak Ridge at home and we hope to have another crazy bunch there.”

With only one game this week, the Bulldogs had an extra day of practice to prepare for the Marauders and it showed. The Bulldogs executed their offense well, especially in the first half. Ford looked for his shot and scored seven points in the first quarter to get the Bulldogs rolling.

In the second, Folsom played its best basketball of the game, scoring 22 points, while holding Jesuit to 12. Several players got into the action, including Lukas Hendricks, who added five points to the four he scored in the opening quarter.

“Lukas came up big,” Wall said. “Defensively, he did a great job making things happen and offensively, he found his way to the basket and everyone did a good job getting him the ball.”

Hendricks, like the whole team, was excited about the way the team played as much as the win.

“We played great defense and moved the ball well on offense,” Hendricks said. “It was our best game and it feels amazing to win it. The extra day of practice this week helped us straighten out our offense.”

Wolking scored eight points in the second quarter, including two three-pointers, while Olympio scored four.

With a 37-27 lead heading into the third quarter, Folsom only scored 10 points in the quarter, but held the Marauders to seven. Gavin Smith hit two three-pointers to boost the Bulldogs in the middle portion of the quarter.

“We finally played together and with lots of energy,” Chen said. “We moved the ball and trusted each other.”

The Bulldogs received contributions from everyone on the team. In the scoring department, Wolking led the way with 14, while Hendricks scored 11 and Ford added 10. Smith and Olympio chipped in nine apiece.

Folsom’s next game is at Sheldon Wednesday before it plays host to Oak Ridge Friday.