With Folsom’s tremendous success in football in recent years, one guy who has learned to adapt is Bulldogs boys’ basketball coach Mike Wall.
He doesn’t schedule many early-season games because he knows he’ll be missing some of his basketball players who are still playing football.
Wall has even learned to make accommodations for his Folsom/Vista Classic tournament, held last weekend in conjunction with Vista del Lago, though the scheduling tweak backfired this year.
When No. 4 Folsom beat No. 10 Woodcreek 64-63 early last Saturday evening on Jared Wall’s putback with eight seconds to play after holding off a furious Timberwolves’ fourth-quarter rally, there weren’t many Folsom rooters in the house.
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Most of the Folsom Faithful were in Pleasant Hill getting ready to watch the football team play De La Salle of Concord for the second consecutive year in the CIF Northern California Regional Open Division championship game.
“We scheduled the championship game for 4:30 p.m.,” Wall said. “Last year we did the same thing (Folsom beat Woodcreek 57-56 in that final) and it worked out because the football game was at Sacramento State. But we were thrown a curve when they moved it to Diablo Valley (College) this year.”
The basketball tournament still proved a financial success because the Bulldogs drew a big crowd for Friday’s semifinal win over El Dorado and because of the popular JV and freshman tournaments, too.
With Saturday’s win, Folsom is off to a 7-0 start. That’s a better beginning than even the 31-2 2008-2009 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship team that lost its third game of the season to Monte Vista of Danville, then didn’t lose again until the NorCal Regionals, also to Monte Vista.
The Bulldogs’ run has been spurred by the talented sophomore trio of Jordan Ford, Alec Andrews and Jared Wall – the coach’s son. Ford, the point guard who was MVP of both the Folsom tournament and Bill Cartwright Invitational, is a special player.
He’s averaging 29.6 points and is drawing favorable comparisons to Folsom’s last standout player, Tony Johnson. Johnson was the leader of that 31-2 team, earned Bee All-Metro first team honors that season, went on to a stellar career at Lafayette College and is now playing professionally in the Netherlands.
Andrews is averaging 11 points and Wall 8.1. Along with 6-8 junior center Colin Russell, Folsom figures to only get better with the addition of football players Josiah Deguara, Lukas Hendricks, Cody Creason and Parker Boone – all 6-3 or taller.
Coach Wall purposely didn’t schedule any games this week – the Bulldogs play No. 17 Monterey Trail next Monday in Foothill’s Hoops for the Human Fund showcase – to better acclimate the football players, who joined the basketball team on Monday.
“We’re going to have six practices and no games, and then roll out Folsom basketball 2.0,” Wall said. “Folsom 1.0 went 7-0. Now we need to get the bugs out and make sure it’s an upgrade.”
More tournaments – In addition to this week’s 12-team St. Hope Elite Classic at Sacramento High that features No. 1 Capital Christian and No. 3 Sacramento, at least five other area boys tournaments will be held, with championship games set for Saturday.
They are the 49th Mel Good Holiday Classic at Yuba City (No. 17 Monterey Trail); the Running with the Pack at Cosumnes Oaks (No. 6 Cosumnes Oaks); the Mesa Verde Invitational (No. 11 Del Campo); the Les Curry Invitational at Davis (No. 10 Woodcreek); and the Inderkum tourney.
Heavy hitters in Vegas – Fifth-ranked Sheldon will face defending Nevada state champion and host Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas in tonight’s opening round of the Tarkanian Classic.
Sheldon, last year’s CIF NorCal D-I Open Division finalist, is in the 16-team Platinum Division that includes defending California state champions Mater Dei of Santa Ana and Redondo Union of Redondo Beach.
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