The Wildfires boys’ varsity basketball team reached one of their goals this year by making it to the playoffs.
After finishing their league season with a 3rd place finish and a 6-4 record. Foresthill was rewarded with a five seed in the division six playoff bracket and a road trip to Sacramento Adventist.
Sac Adventist was a very quick and good shooting team but we had a height and strength advantage over them. In the first quarter the teams played pretty even as the Wildfires took some time to adjust to the gym and rid themselves of some playoff butterflies. The players answered the call of their coach to play better defense by only allowing eight points in the 2nd quarter and taking a 29-24 lead into halftime. The 2nd half consisted of a back and forth game with both teams hitting shots. One stretch had both teams knocking down shots for five straight possessions. Adventist cut the lead down to three at one point but then Joey Misuraca, like he did several times during the season, hit a clutch three to expand the lead back up to six and swing the momentum back to the Wildfires. Emerson Miles came up big in the 2nd half scoring twelve of his fifteen points after the halftime break.
A 25 point explosion in the 4th quarter sealed the game for the Wildfires and earned them their next goal of winning a playoff game. Matt Laporte had a team high 17 points and 13 rebounds, as he battled his way to the free throw line several times. Benji Nieves also had a double, double with 13 points and 10 boards. Miles had seven rebounds to go with his 15 points. Wyatt Ralston hit three of five from deep and finished with 14 points while Tanner Borbe chipped in five points.
Coach Kuykendall summarized the game: "It was a great atmosphere, the gym was really loud at times and it was a hard fought game. To go on the road in the playoffs is a big deal and I'm proud of how all the players reacted tonight. We switched to a zone and it seemed to take them out of their offense at times. We didn't panic when they went on runs or hit shots and we kept battling and was aggressive in getting the ball in the paint. Team effort is the only way to characterize it. It was nice to see our best players step up their play when it mattered."
In the semi-finals of the playoffs the Wildfires were once again matched up against a familiar foe, the champion of their league and #1 seed Sacramento Waldorf. We knew we'd have our hands full but believed we could definitely play with them even though we had lost to them twice in league play. The 1st quarter the Wildfires played good all around basketball and took the early lead. The 2nd quarter showed why they were the #1 seed as they hit shot after shot, several of them with guys playing good defense. Waldorf hit eight 3 point shots in the 1st half and it led to a 35-28 hole at halftime for the Wildfires. While they slowed down the Waldorf offense after that 2nd quarter the Foresthill offense once again had a tough quarter in the 3rd. "If we have a normal offensive 3rd quarter then it's a different game, a one or two possession game, but against good teams you have to play 32 minutes of good all around basketball. You have to give Waldorf credit they deserved to get the win, they're a good team that played a great game and we gave them everything they could handle. We played well enough tonight to beat most teams in our division but not good enough to beat a good team hitting on all cylinders."
The final score was 60-47. The Wildfires had three players score in double digits, Matt LaPorte(12), Benji Nieves (11) and Emerson Miles(10). Ben Holbrook, Wyatt Ralston and Cody Mackay each chipped in four points.
"As a coach I couldn't ask for anything more. They wanted the win and it didn't happen but they competed, worked hard all season, and overcame a ton of adversity dealing with injuries and illness. They know they had a good season even if they didn't reach all of their goals. I just had the honor to coach a special group of kids."