Wildfires wrap up bar-raising regular season
Foresthill in 2018–19 has set the new standard for Wildfire boys basketball.
In the 14-year history of the Wildfires’ boys basketball program, no team has seen a better regular-season showing than this year’s squad. An 18-8 overall mark paired with a 13-1 Central Valley California League record for the school’s first ever boys basketball league banner has Foresthill fueled up for the postseason.
Friday, the Wildfires won their 13th consecutive game with an 84-50 effort over Victory Christian on Senior Night.
“Senior Night is always special and finishing our season with our 13th straight win was cool,” said Foresthill head coach James Kuykendall. “The players practiced hard all year and saw their work pay off.”
Seven seniors were recognized, including Skyler Tuttle, Hunter Williams, Elias Estrada, Chet Matz, Casey Baldwin, Jaycob Ponce and Justin Leyba, with five getting the start for Foresthill.
The Wildfires led by just five after the half, but Kuykendall said the floodgates opened after his team returned from the locker room.
Matz hit three 3-pointers with 11 of his 13 points coming in the second half to give the Wildfires a 21-10 third-quarter output. Williams and junior Jaycie Zapata led a highlight-reel fast break with consecutive behind-the-back passes leading to a Nick Lechner layup, garnering an eruption from the Foresthill faithful.
Lechner, a junior, came off the bench to shoot a perfect 8-of-8 for 21 points to share the scoring lead with Tuttle, who dropped 11 of his 21 in the first quarter.
Estrada contributed nine points and four steals. Williams, who Kuykendall calls “the unquestioned leader” of the team, gave four points and six assists. Leyba and junior Caleb Medrano were big factors on the defensive end.
Foresthill entered Friday as the No. 7 team in MaxPreps’ Sac-Joaquin Section Division V rankings. The Wildfires will learn their playoff placement later Saturday.
Bear River 58, Lindhurst 34
The Bruins nailed down their first playoff berth in seven years with the road win over the Blazers. The Bruins, 15-11 overall and 6-4 in the Pioneer Valley League, come up short in the PVL’s third place tie-breaker with Foothill but Bear River advances because it finished in the top 15 of MaxPreps’ D-IV rankings.
Justin Powell’s 17 points paced the Bruins, who led at halftime 26-11. Brad Smith and Brekyn Vasquez both knocked in 12 points each.
Foothill 71, Colfax 58
The Falcons flirted with the upset as the hosts took a 27-26 lead over the playoff bound Mustangs at halftime. However, any visions of a Colfax win went out the door when Foothill erupted for 30 third-quarter points.
Jake Green wrapped up an outstanding three-year varsity career for the Falcons by scoring 18 points. In the JV game, Colfax’s Benton Stocks scored 37 points to lift the Falcons past the Mustangs, 55-34.
Sacramento Waldorf 45, Forest Lake Christian 40
The Falcons struggled to find the bottom of the net during the first quarter of their regular-season finale against the Waves. Forest Lake only managed one point through the first eight minutes, and it proved to be the Falcons’ downfall Friday.
Forest Lake outscored Waldorf the rest of the way 39-33 over the final three periods but came up five points short of their eighth win in the Central Valley California League.
The Falcons (13-13 overall) finishes tied for third in league but is a Top-10 team in MaxPreps’ Division VI rankings in the Sac-Joaquin Section, a position that should help Forest Lake with its playoff seeding later Saturday.
Forest Lake Christian 63, Sacramento Waldorf 35
The Lady Falcons wrapped up the outright CVCL title for the second consecutive season earlier this week. Friday, they put the icing on the regular-season cake by capping a perfect 14-0 record in league with a 28-point drubbing over Sac Waldorf.
Forest Lake went on an 18-3 second-quarter run to subdue the Waves. The Lady Falcons were led by senior Lily Sween’s 23 points and 11 rebounds while Ali McDaniel contributed six points with nine rebounds and 13 assists. Sophomore Ellie Wood added 13 points and junior Amber Jackson 12 for the Lady Falcons, who have now won 26 straight league games dating back to 2017.
Forest Lake (20-5) is expected to get a Top-3 seed when the section brackets are revealed later Saturday.
Foresthill 39, Victory Christian 38
After a tough loss at Sac Waldorf two weeks ago, Foresthill girls head coach Sadie Stroup said that her team needed to win the winnable games over the remaining four CVCL contests.
Over the past couple weeks, the Lady Wildfires (10-14) have responded by running the table against Delta, Encina Prep, Futures and Friday’s 39-38 win over Victory Christian on Senior Night to get to 8-6 and into fourth place in league.
Holly Brooks’ 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting (3-for-3 from 3-point land) led the Wildfires’ charge. McKayla Lechner added nine with six boards, five assists and five steals, and Amber Mackay put in for eight points and six rebounds.
“It was a great team effort tonight,” said Stroup. “They were so tenacious on defense. They just played extremely hard the whole game. I am so proud of everything they accomplished this season.”
Mackay, Cassie Ralston, Kari Anderson and Rikki Littleragingwaters were the four Foresthill seniors playing their final home game for the Wildfires.