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A season to remember

Top-ranked Bulldogs enjoying the ride
By: Matt Long
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Folsom High?s varsity boys? basketball team doesn?t have a player taller than 6-feet-4 on their roster. They don?t have a dominant post player, nor do they have a pre-eminent scorer, who averages 25 points a game and strikes fear in the heart of every defender. But what Folsom does have is the area?s top-ranked team, who have put together a magical season that has captured their fans? hearts. Entering Tuesday?s quarterfinal game against Enochs, the Bulldogs have won 27 of their 28 games, losing only to Monte Vista of Danville in the team?s third game of the season on Dec. 6. Regardless how the rest of the season turns out, Folsom has had a great run. While the Bulldogs fully expect to defend the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title they won a year ago, never in their dreams did they think they?d win 27 of their first 28 games and be ranked No. 1 for most of the season. ?I knew we?d be good, but not this good,? Folsom senior forward Tucker Horwath said. ?To me we don?t feel that good, but we just keep winning. We?ve pulled out a lot of wins this year.? Teammate Patrick Akins, a senior guard, agreed with Horwath?s assessment. ?I didn?t think we?d only have one loss so far,? Akins said. ?I for sure thought we would have at least one loss in league.? Folsom?s faced more talented teams on several occasions this season, but yet still found a way to win those games. So how have they done it? While the Bulldogs don?t have a superstar player, they feature exceptional guard play, have a group of unselfish players who do a lot of things well and have outstanding team chemistry, not to mention coach Mike Wall, who knows a thing or two about coaching basketball. ?We?ve got a great group of unselfish players who trust each other and when you have that, the whole is greater than its parts,? Wall said. ?The players are not preoccupied with any one style of play or any single way to get it done and they don?t care who?s doing the scoring. They do whatever they need to do and that?s fairly unique. ?Another thing is most of the time all five guys on the court can score and that?s hard to stop. We?ve also got three guards in Tony Johnson, Kori Babineaux and Patrick Akins that are all league players. So far, I haven?t seen three guards on an opposing team that I?d rather have than those guys.? Folsom?s strong play has drawn fans to Folsom High to see them in action. Especially against the better teams in the Delta River League like Sheldon and Pleasant Grove, the Bulldogs have played in front of big home crowds in their big gymnasium. Corey Pomicpic, a senior at Folsom High and the unofficial leader of the ?Dawg Pack,? Folsom High?s student cheering section, has been to every home game this season, rooting on his classmates. ?I think the team is awesome,? Pomicpic said. ?It?s been a lot of fun coming to the games. The team has such good team chemistry and they?ve been playing together for a long time, that?s why they?re so good.? Pomicpic said his job as a fan is to get loud and start chants. There?s no doubt that he and his classmates have helped the Bulldogs pull out close wins over Sheldon and Pleasant Grove. Amanda Furia, a senior captain on Folsom?s cheer squad, has also enjoyed watching this year?s team. ?It?s been a fun season because there?s always been a good turnout with the crowds and they?ve been lively and energetic,? Furia said. ?I love it when the games are close. The fans get crazy and it makes it so much fun.? Another fan who?s been to several home games is Stan Harms, 71, a former teacher and coach at Folsom High, who guided the 1984-85 team to a state championship. He?s also impressed with this year?s team. ?I think athletically, they?re excellent,? Harms said. ?Tony is excellent and the Babineaux brothers are more athletic than anyone." He said defense is the key. ?Another thing that makes the team so good is that they can play defense. No matter what level you?re talking about, if you can defend, you can be good. Harms said the Bulldogs also feature toughness, particularly in players like Scott Moore and Horwath, which is also important," he said. ?You need tough players and those two guys are tough. The coach also does a really good job.? Being the area?s top-ranked team may not lead to a section title, but that?s the goal that the team is shooting for. ?We?ve got the talent (to win the section), but we?ve got to play well,? Akins said.