Forest Lake Christian trying to build up girls basketball program

Team hopes to make playoffs this season
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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Forest Lake Christian High is trying to build up its girls basketball program.

It looks like the Falcons are flying in the right direction.

For the first time in three years, Forest Lake has a junior varsity team. And the varsity squad’s nine-girl roster features just one senior.

“We’ll have this team next year,” said coach Tom Ritchart. “There’s a lot of time to improve with them. We feel good about the future. … Eventually, the girls will play with others in their age group and mature.”

With a young core, the Falcons could experience some growing pains.

One such example came Friday night in a 60-44 first-round loss to Elliot Christian in the team’s own Christmas Classic tournament.

“We’re making a lot of progress,” Ritchart said. “Tonight was tough. We were without our leading scorer, Lauren Piner, and we got into foul trouble quick. … We’re weren’t able to recover from it.”

A double digit scorer, Piner (ankle) is expected to return in the next week, the coach said. The Falcons’ Cameron Manchester (knee) suffered an injury Friday as well.

Despite the loss, the Falcons (0-1) received positive production from juniors Emily Pearce (12 points) and Josey Poppin (14 points).

Aside from Pearce, Poppin and senior Emily Woodward, the rest of the team consists of sophomores.

The young Falcons, who play at a fast pace, are hoping to soar into the playoffs.

“We’re trying to run the ball,” Pearce said. “We’re kind of like go-go-go. I think we’re going to have a good season. We’re a strong, tall team.”

Although the team is youthful, Forest Lake has chemistry it hopes to build off of — eight of the nine players on the team were on last year’s 9-15 varsity squad.

“I think we’ve grown together as a team,” Poppin said. “I think we’ll do better than last year.”

Central Valley California league starts on Jan. 3 and the Falcons aren’t sure they can take the crown — yet.

“I don’t know if we can win league,” Ritchart said. “We’re not worried about it. We really want to make the playoffs.”


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