Bigger and getting better

FOREST LAKE CHRISTIAN GIRLS BASKETBALL OUTLOOK: With taller lineup than they’ve had in past, Falcons can still be dangerous from outside
By: Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Writer
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LAKE OF THE PINES — Forest Lake Christian School’s girls basketball team has already reached new heights this season — literally. The Falcons (8-5), who open Central Valley Christian League play tonight on the road against Vacaville Christian, have six players in their program who stand at six feet or taller, according to first-year coach Linda Clough. That total includes players on FLC’s junior varsity squad. “This year we’re taller than we’ve ever been,” said Clough, who has coached Forest Lake’s JV teams in the past but is in her first year coaching at the varsity level. “I’m looking forward to using that uncoachable height as an asset.” Among Forest Lake’s taller players are 6-foot sophomore Maggie Aubuchon, who has cracked the Falcons’ starting lineup at center, and freshman Emily Woodward, Aubuchon’s 6-1 backup. Don’t think for a second, though, that the Falcons will do all their scoring from the inside due to their height advantage. Junior guards Molly Huusfeldt and Sterling Marich can both shoot well enough from the outside to keep opposing defenses honest. So, for that matter, can junior forward Laura Ritchart who holds the team lead in 3-pointers with seven. Ritchart, Huusfelt and Marich are each averaging 10 points per game or more. Ritchart leads the group with an average of 10.7 points, followed by Marich (10.5). “We’ve got girls who can handle the ball and shoot really well, and I think that will help us out a lot,” Ritchart said. Rounding out the Falcons’ starting lineup is senior guard Morghan Pomeroy, whose quickness has made her an asset on defense. Pomeroy, who didn’t play last year, is one of just three seniors on Forest Lake’s roster — the others are guards Sam Camacho and Lauren Carlsberg, who came out for the first time this season. Junior forward Emily English has been a key player off the bench for the Falcons thus far. The rest of FLC’s roster consists of junior guards Ashley Blair, Hannah Masterson and Madeline Zea. With few experienced seniors on the court, Clough believes her players’ biggest challenge will be handling themselves in clutch situations. “I think the biggest thing is staying composed … (and) not panicking when there’s last-minute shooting situations and pressure from the defense,” Clough said. “I’m looking forward to the end of the season when we’re playing with confidence the way a senior does.” The Falcons have already started building toward that end. They won last month’s Valley Christian Tournament in Roseville and finished third in the recent Vacaville Christian Tournament. “At first we were kind of struggling because we hadn’t practiced all together,” Ritchart said. “We weren’t comfortable with each other. But we’re gelling more as the team is getting better.” Clough believes FLC will be a dangerous team come the postseason. “I’m really excited about the talent we have on this team this year,” the coach said. “I’m looking forward to our team continuing to gel as we progress through the season and all the way through the playoffs. We really do have a lot of talent on this team and a lot of depth.”