By Jeff Pack
Staff Writer 

Fallbrook boys basketball advances to CIF semifinals

Warriors to host Classical Academy on Tuesday night


Last updated 2/26/2020 at 12:35pm

Warrior Steve Fuentes dribbles the ball into Fallbrook's court during the boys basketball CIF Division 5 quarterfinal game against Vincent Memorial, Feb. 25. Village News/Shane Gibson photo

Senior Cooper Sherman scored 30 points by making 14 shots from the field, including one three-pointer, to lead the No. 1 seeded Warriors boys varsity basketball team to a 77-58 quarterfinal win over Vincent Memorial at Fallbrook High School.

"We got up like 24 points in the first half at one point and kind of let them crawl back in," head coach Ryan Smith said. "They got within like 10 or 12 in the third quarter and then we pushed it right back up to about 20. Then we're up 24 and I put some of the JV kids in and they got a couple of layups. It went really well though because we just took care of business early and even though we had a little bit of a bad stretch, we were so far ahead at that point that it was hard for them to overcome."

Not to be outdone, Cooper's senior co-captain, Joel Calhoun, hung 27 points on Vincent Memorial while dropping four three-pointers in the game. Junior Yoni Villagran scored all nine of his points by making three three-pointers and Steve Fuentes added one in his five total points.

"We ended up pressing a little bit, which we haven't been able to do in the league because everyone in the league are pretty good ball handlers," Smith said. "I noticed early that they didn't handle the basketball very well. So we started impressing and we got a lot of easy points. We scored 42 points in the first half, which is really, really good for us. A lot of that was from our press got us really easy baskets and it got us a lot of confidence early."

The win sent the Warriors (18-8) into the semifinals of the CIF San Diego Section Division 5 playoffs, where they will host No. 5 Classical Academy (19-8) at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25 at Fallbrook High.

The Warriors lost 53-48 to Classical Academy back on Dec. 14, 2019, in a home game that saw Cooper and Calhoun held to 13 and 19 points respectively.

"I feel like that might've been our worst game of the season," Smith said. "We shot like 22% on open shots when we played them. It was just kind of a bad week for us. We'd gone 6-0, played Sage Creek and got beat by 20 and just kind of were hanging our heads a bit. I don't know what it was. We were just hanging our heads and came to that game kind of a little bit deflated."

Smith is confident the Warriors can come ou on top this time around.

"we've got to do what we've been doing the whole season and the main thing is we have to execute," he said. "They're a good team. They got a kid that's really, really good that we have to make sure we stop. He killed us last time and he plays really hard. As long as we listen to the game plan, I think we'll be okay. They're a good team that they can beat us, they've already beat us before, so it's going to be no easy task. But I believe if we do the right things that we can come out on top."

If they can get by the Caimans, the Warriors will play for the championship against the winner of the other semifinal between No. 2 Mar Vista and No. 3 Calvin Christian. The Warriors did not play either team in the preseason or in tournaments.

The Division 5 championship game will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 at Carlsbad High School.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]

Warrior Yoni Villagran shoots a 3-point shot against Vincent Memorial during the CIF Division 5 quarterfinal. Village News/Shane Gibson photo


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