Joe Davidson

Woodcreek rolls on; showdown with No. 1 Sheldon likely in playoffs

Woodcreek High School Timberwolves basketball head coach Paul Hayes, talks to his players as they play at Folsom High School on Friday.
Woodcreek High School Timberwolves basketball head coach Paul Hayes, talks to his players as they play at Folsom High School on Friday. Special to The Sacramento Bee

This team is starting to flex its considerable muscle, and opponents are buckling.

Ranked second by The Sacramento Bee, Woodcreek relied on balanced scoring, experience and defense to race past No. 3 Folsom 69-34 on Friday in a Sierra Foothill League contest at Folsom.

The Timberwolves turn heads as soon as they hit the floor, and this includes looking up. Woodcreek is anchored by Northern California’s No. 1 recruit, 6-foot-11 junior Jordan Brown, but this is hardly a one-man show.

It is a show to behold, however, and crowds pack the gym for home games in Roseville and on the road, including at Folsom, where the Bulldogs’ rooting section gave it the old campus yell try but were muted as Woodcreek pulled away in the second half.

Woodcreek is anchored by Northern California’s No. 1 recruit, 6-foot-11 junior Jordan Brown, but this is hardly a one-man show.

Sheldon of the Elk Grove Unified School District is ranked No. 1 by The Bee by virtue of beating a team that beat Woodcreek (Harvard-Westlake), but there’s not much difference between the programs. Both are superbly coached, share the ball and defend. Sheldon and Woodcreek likely will meet in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs in March as top seeds.

On Friday, Brown overcame first-half foul trouble to score 22 points. He yanked down rebounds, ran the floor, dished and finished. Brown’s backcourt mates were similarly effective. Jackson Hughes had 17 points, and Ty Roberts scored 15.

“We get after it on ‘D,’ ” Woodcreek coach Paul Hayes said. “Our three captains – Jordan, Ty and Jackson – get us into a defensive intensity the moment we hit the practice floor, and it carries into games. Everyone has to raise their game, or they’re left behind.”

Woodcreek (18-2, 5-0) won its first 12 games before falling to national powerhouse and defending CIF State Open Division champion Chino Hills 108-93 in the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational, a respectable showing considering Chino Hills often drills opponents by 50. The trip went beyond playing top competition. Woodcreek players bonded. They ate together, hung out together, dreamed of championships together. The Timberwolves had overwhelmed all comers in the SFL.

“This group really likes one another,” Hayes said. “And they’re well liked on campus by everyone.”

Woodcreek (18-2, 5-0) won its first 12 games before falling to national powerhouse and defending CIF State Open Division champion Chino Hills 108-93 in the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational, a respectable showing considering Chino Hills often drills opponents by 50.

Folsom players carry a similar stature on campus. The Bulldogs (15-5, 3-2) have been a basketball power off and on for decades, including winning the CIF State Division III championship in 1985 under coach Stan Harms, long since retired but still a Folsom fan and a regular at games.

The Bulldogs are led by Mason Forbes, a fast-rising recruit. The 6-8 junior center scored 12 points on an array of post moves. Guard Martis Johnson had 11 for Folsom.

Triple OT – Antelope held off Cosumnes Oaks 90-86 on Friday night in triple overtime, leaving not just the players spent, but the coaches, too.

De’Shaun Pickens had 22 points, Shamonde McCollum 16 and Tanner Sullivan 15 for Antelope, which along with Cosumnes Oaks is battling Whitney, Ponderosa and Roseville for league honors. It was the first triple-overtime game in the long coaching career of Antelope’s Rob Richards, who said: “It was pretty exhausting. Glad I joined a gym for the new year to get myself in shape for games like this!”

Big Red dread – Teams get up to play decadeslong power Jesuit.

The Marauders lost to Franklin 68-42 on Wednesday and Monterey Trail 62-59 on Friday, making the Delta League even deeper behind front-runner Sheldon and fellow title contender Grant. Elk Grove beat Franklin 52-46 on Friday as Sidney Ha and Derrick Aragon had 11 points each.

Bishop Brown led Monterey Trail against Jesuit with 15 points. Fellow Bee All-Metro football star Robert Holt also has played well this season for Monterey Trail.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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