The loss concludes the Falcons’ season with a 16-9 record and a 12-2, second place finish behind Brookside Christian of Stockton in the Harvest Christian League. The Crusaders, Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champions for the past two years, move to the second round on Friday night in their quest for another section title.
There were times where the Falcons looked like they could keep up with Modesto Christian. The Crusaders used their height advantage over the Falcons, but also proved to be quick as they consistently went after the ball and forced about two-dozen turnovers and out-rebounded the Falcons.
“We had the depth on them too,” Modesto Christian coach Gary Porter said. “We sub and we sub. It eventually wears them out and they start to make bad passes.”
“They’re just a wonderfully talented team,” Millennium coach Mike Woods said of Modesto Christian. “Hard work and talent can wear you down.”
The Crusaders had a 10-0 lead before the Falcons got on the scoreboard in the first quarter, and Modesto Christian ran up the score to 25-4 before Millennium’s Kiley Duncan and Richie Raya got the ball past the Crusaders’ defense and started to hit their shots.
Duncan and Raya were knew that getting into scoring range would be a big challenge on Wednesday.
“We came out with the game plan that we thought we were going to be able to break their press,” Duncan said. “We broke it for a minute, but then we just kept going back to our old ways. We weren’t being consistent with coming down the court and passing the ball like we were supposed to be.”
But late in the first quarter and through the first part of the second quarter the Falcons did break through the Crusaders’ press to score some points. Raya also worked from the outside, scoring four three-point shots for the night.
“The times that were working were when we finally settled down to run our offense,” Raya said. “We don’t get to play teams like this a lot, so it was a good experience for us returning juniors for next year and our sophomores.”
“Their advantage was mainly just that they out-hustled us tonight. We tried to give it our all but we fell a little short.”
Raya led the Falcons with 16 points, Asad Khan scored 12 and Freddy Brindopke scored eight. Brandon Baker scored 22 for the Crusaders, Anthony Pratt scored 16 and Derek Evans scored 15.
Coach Woods said that the loss doesn’t diminish what he saw as a successful season for his team.
“We fought, we scratched, we clawed. We came in second place in our league with only two losses to the number-one team in our league.”
He said the only disappointment came when he got a preview of the Harvest Christian League all-league selections, and none of his players were named to the first or the second team.
“That’s a travesty by the guys who run that Harvest Christian League. How do you get a team that goes 12-2, beats everybody except the top team and we don’t get one guy on the all-league team?”
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.