Jordan Ford doesn’t just crave the big moments, the key plays, the pressure and anxiety.
He lives for it, invites it. And flourishes.
With the reigning Bee Player of the Year leading the charge, Folsom High School outlasted Sheldon 50-49 in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title game on Saturday night at Sleep Train Arena in a large-school finale every bit as good as anticipated.
It’s the third such title for the Bulldogs under coach Mike Wall since 2008 and second successive championship after winning last season in D-II. A wiry, crafty, quick and hard-to-defend junior guard, Ford put the Bulldogs up 50-47 with 24.7 seconds to go on a spinning floater in the lane, and he and his teammates withstood Sheldon’s final inbound play that was broken up as time expired.
Ford had 18 points and earned a deeper measure of regional respect in going against – and succeeding – Sheldon’s terrific point-guard trio of Isaiah Brooks, Elishja Duplechan and Devin Greene, who each had their moments. Matt Manning led Sheldon with 14 points but he was the only Huskies player to hit for double figures as the Bulldogs played strong defense down the stretch.
Ford played all but 30 seconds yet hardly looked spent. And he was all grins when it was over.
“I love it!” he said of his role, his team and the title. “It’s what I work for, train for. We all just love to compete.”
Folsom has a nifty guard group, too, including Jared Wall, the team’s energizer, Tre Finch, Alec Andrews, Parker Boone and Josiah Deguara.
But the key is Ford.
“Oh, he lives for this sort of thing, 365 days a year, and that’s why he’s able to do this,” said Wall, the veteran coach.
Folsom expects to be placed into the prestigious NorCal Open Division when seedings are announced today. Folsom could be a No. 3 seed behind state-ranked No. 1 Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland and likely No. 2 Monte Vista of Danville, the defending CIF State Division I champion and a last-play winner over Folsom in a nonleague game this season. Sheldon, which was seeking its fifth section title in six seasons, will be placed in the D-I NorCal tournament, and could make a serious run to the title.
“I’m excited, ready for anything,” Ford said. “We’ll play anyone. We know how to finish games. We know how to win. That’s what we’re all about.”
St. Mary’s 78, McClatchy 55 – Freshman center Aquira Decosta scored 24 points and had 13 rebounds as the Rams from Stockton pulled away from The Bee-ranked No. 1 Lions.
St. Mary’s won its on-going record 16th title, eighth in succession and third in a row in D-1. St. Mary’s is 65-2 in section playoff games since 1999. Gigi Garcia scored 11 points and had 13 rebounds and six blocked shots for McClatchy (23-7), which will advance to next week’s NorCal D-I Regional tournament. St. Mary’s, slotted for the Open Division, seeks its 10th NorCal championship.
Jordan Cruz scored 14 for McClatchy and Destiny Lee had 12.
Follow Joe Davidson on Twitter @SacBee_JoeD.