Folsom boys basketball team reaches title gameBy: by Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
As the co-host of the Folsom/Vista Winter Classic, the Bulldogs’ basketball squad wanted to get into the championship game on Saturday evening. The Bulldogs earned their way into the title game by handily defeating Rocklin, 61-43 Friday night.
After beating El Dorado, 74-54, in the opening round on Thursday, Folsom subdued a Thunder team with an up-tempo defensive effort in both halves. Although Folsom was undermanned due to four of its players gearing up for Saturday night’s Northern California championship football game, Coach Mike Wall was impressed with the energy his Bulldogs brought.
“This was the first time we’ve been able to press for an extended period of time,” he said. “The fear is if you’re too aggressive, you may get into foul trouble or you may get tired. As a coach you have to figure that into the game plan, but we brought big energy on defense. We were really intense and we took away what (Rocklin) wanted to do and made them go to their second, third and fourth options.”
Zach Wolking led the way with 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting and freshman Jordan Ford played a mature-beyond-his-years point guard for the Bulldogs, scoring 19 and dishing out three assists. Wolking hit four of his six three-point attempts while he and Ford each swiped four steals.
“Jordan and Zach have really started to gel. Zach’s really shooting it well right now and they’re a great one-two punch,” said Wall of his backcourt duo.
Folsom ended the first quarter on a 10-0 run over the last five minutes that carried over into the second quarter. The run grew to 18-2 until the 3:30 mark of the second. Ford nailed a pair of threes—both off of feeds from Patrick Chen on the low block—which increased Folsom’s lead to 25-10.
Rocklin started off hot in the third quarter, going on a 9-2 run, which featured Devin Moss converting on back-to-back one-and-ones that chipped the Folsom lead down to 12. Chen then made a couple more plays to help extend the Bulldog advantage. He made a nice up-fake on two Thunder defenders for a lay-in just before he found Wolking in the corner for a 3-pointer that made it 41-26 Folsom with two minutes to play in the third.
Colin Russell blocked a pair of Rocklin shots near the end of the third to give Folsom some extra steam heading into the fourth with a 20-point cushion. Folsom made the adjustments necessary to stay in the driver’s seat.
“It comes down to how hard we play. When we play hard, we’re pretty good,” said Wall.
Folsom will now play Woodcreek in Saturday’s final. Wall and the Bulldogs hope to claim their host tournament in time to hopefully catch their football counterparts do the same against national powerhouse De la Salle on the gridiron.
Said Wall: “It’s a pretty special night to have us in our tournament’s championship game and our football team in the (NorCal) championship game on the same night.”