With a little help, Wildfires wrap up first ever league basketball title
The Foresthill boys basketball team made school history Friday night at Encina Prep High School.
A hard-fought 70-59 victory over the Bulldogs coupled with a Sacramento Waldorf loss to Victory Christian enabled the Wildfires to wrap up the school’s first ever boys basketball Central Valley California League championship.
“It’s very cool, I’m proud of our players,” said Foresthill James Kuykendall. “They set it as a goal at the beginning of the season. They’ve been talking about it all year that they want to put a banner on the wall. I give them all the credit.”
Though Encina led 18-12 after the first quarter, the Wildfires’ depth became a factor in a 21-9 second period. Just a five-point margin heading into the fourth became an 11-point victory as Skyler Tuttle hit on 11 of his team-high 24 points in the final frame. Tuttle also grabbed nine rebounds.
Hunter Williams drew a momentum-changing charge in the fourth quarter while Caleb Medrano and Justin Leyba hounded Encina’s offense all night.
“Our defense kept going at them all night,” said Kuykendall.
Williams had eight points with four steals, Leyba and Casey Baldwin each finished with nine points and Medrano and Nick Lechner added six apiece.
Foresthill (11-1, 16-8 overall) wraps up the regular season at Futures Tuesday and at home Friday against Victory Christian. Kuykendall said there are still goals for the final two games before postseason play arrives.
“We want to clean up a few things,” he said. “Turnovers; we want to make sure we’re clear and we’re not turning the ball over as much. We want to be healthy, but the guys want to go 13-1, so we’re going to play both games to win.”
Hillmen scoring blitz pours down on Vikings, 96-69
While it was raining outside Placer High’s Earl Crabbe Gymnasium during Friday night’s Foothill Valley League boys basketball contest between the host Hillmen and Oakmont Vikings, inside it was pouring points.
In their biggest offensive output of the season, Placer’s boys tuned up for next week’s crucial pair of regular season-ending FVL games with a thorough 96-69 dismantling of the visiting Vikings.
For Placer, the win improved the Hillmen’s league-leading FVL standing to 7-1 with two games remaining. Now 17-9 overall on the season, the Hillmen need to win one of its remaining pair of games to cinch at least a share of the first ever FVL title.
Placer will try and sew up the league crown outright Wednesday when the Hillmen travel to Shingle Springs to take on second place Ponderosa (14-11, 6-2).
The Bruins, who trail Placer by one game in the FVL race, handed the Hillmen its lone FVL loss, 69-62 back on Jan. 17. Friday night, Ponderosa used a strong fourth quarter to pull away from Nevada Union in Grass Valley, 53-36.
Next Friday, the regular season closes with Placer hosting Lincoln and Ponderosa traveling to Oakmont.
Getting back to Friday’s Hillmen-Oakmont game, the Vikings came out firing and after an uptempo first quarter, led the Hillmen, 23-15.
But any shot of the Vikings pulling off an upset on this night went out the window over the next 16 minutes as the Hillmen turned on a scoring blitz that out-pointed Oakmont by a remarkable 61-30 count to lead 76-53 at the end of the third quarter.
Placer landed 10 players in the scoring ledger led by Konner Baroni, who had a monster game with 26 points along with grabbing 15 rebounds.
Owen Tucker followed with 16 markers while sophomore Max Petrenko, who was scoreless in the first half, came alive to tally all 15 of his points after intermission. Peyton Harbour and Ian Howes both netted 11 points each while Logan Lauck added seven. Howes was also credited with a game-high 11 assists.
Oakmont, which slipped to 2-6 in FVL games and 9-15 overall, was led by sophomore Nate Greenfield’s 15 points.
Bear River 69, Colfax 49
The Bruins moved closer to cinching their first playoff spot in seven years with the home win over the Falcons.
Bear River (14-10, 5-3) trailed Colfax by six points early in the second quarter before a scoring run enabled the hosts to go into halftime with a 37-24 lead.
The Bruins were led by Brad Smith’s 21 points and 18 from Justin Powell. Brekyn Vasquez added 14 while Skylar Peterson added seven.
Colfax (0-8, 6-16) was led by Michael La Vigne with 16 points, 15 by Jake Green and 10 from Alex Weir.