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Warriors second in league boys basketball standings, reach playoffs

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School’s boys basketball team finished the 2022-2023 season second in the Valley League standings.

The Warriors were 5-3 in Valley League competition. Fallbrook’s overall record of 12-15 also reflects a loss in the first round of the CIF Division III playoffs.

“I’m very happy where our season ended up,” Fallbrook coach Jonathan Terry said.

The Valley League had six teams for 2021-2022, and Fallbrook’s 6-4 record placed the Warriors third in the standings. Fallbrook was in Division IV for CIF playoff purposes last year, and the ninth-seeded Warriors won a first-round road game at eighth-seeded Southwest in San Diego before losing in the quarterfinals to top-seeded Monte Vista High School. Fallbrook concluded the 2021-2022 season with an overall record of 12-14 including the league and playoff games.

Since 2013, CIF playoff divisions for team sports have been based on competitive balance. Fallbrook was moved up to Division III for 2022-2023.

“We were predicted to not even make the playoffs,” Terry said.

The Warriors, who lost five 2021-2022 seniors along with the Washington brothers who have moved to Texas, were also predicted to finish fourth among the five teams in the 2022-2023 Valley League.

The Warriors actually shared second place with San Pasqual High School; although the Golden Eagles won the 54-46 game, Jan. 18, at Fallbrook, the Warriors were on the preferred end of the 56-54 final score, Feb. 3, at San Pasqual. Fallbrook won that game in overtime. Samuel Carmona scored 19 points for the Warriors and grabbed three rebounds, Kaleb Collings had 10 points against the Golden Eagles and pulled down six rebounds, Reese Holmes contributed nine points and six rebounds, Maliki Brotherton provided seven points and four rebounds and Darian Bonilla recorded four points and four rebounds.

Fallbrook traveled to Valley Center High School for a Feb. 8 game and returned home with an 81-64 victory. Xavier Charland led the team with 26 points, Carmona scored 25 points, Collings had eight points and led the team with eight rebounds and Holmes provided eight points and five rebounds.

San Pasqual was the only team to defeat Mission Vista High School in league play, capturing a 77-50 win, Feb. 1, on the Timberwolves’ court. Mission Vista’s 7-1 league record included two victories over Fallbrook, but the Warriors were competitive in both.

“The first time we played them we went into overtime,” Terry said.

The Jan. 20 game at Mission Vista had a 56-50 score. The Senior Night game, Feb. 10, in Fallbrook had league championship implications at stake; a Warriors win would have created a tie between Fallbrook and Mission Vista for the league title while a Timberwolves victory would give Mission Vista the outright Valley League championship.

“We lost it on the last play,” Terry said.

The final score of 59-57 was secured in the final seconds when Carmona, who is a junior, took a three-point shot which would have won the game for Fallbrook had the ball gone into the net. “He hit the rim. It came out,” Terry said.

The victory gave Mission Vista a final regular season record of 18-8.

“We competed against them very well this year,” Terry said.

Bonilla, Collings, Ashton Hanna, Holmes, Cameron Johnson, Luke Moran and Ashton Strange were the seven 12th graders honored during Senior Night.

“We fell short of our goals,” Terry said of finishing second in the league.

Second place still exceeded the pre-season prediction and the Warriors’ 2021-2022 finish.

“We’re pretty happy about that,” Terry said. “Just a building block for the future is the way I see it.”

The regular season record of 12-14 includes a 4-10 start.

“They played well in the second half of the season,” Terry said. “I was really happy with the way they played. Played some really good basketball.”

The Feb. 11 CIF playoff selection and seeding meeting gave Fallbrook the 16th and final seed in the Division III playoffs.

“We were happy to get in,” Terry said. “We were happy with the fact that we made the playoffs.”

Fallbrook’s Feb. 14 playoff game at Victory Christian High School was an 82-54 Knights triumph. The Knights took 68 shots, not including 19 free throws, in their win by 28 points.

“We cut it to about three in the second quarter, but we just couldn’t maintain it,” Terry said. “I have no complaints. They played hard.”

Mission Vista had the eighth seed, and Victory Christian was on the winning end of the 84-53 quarterfinal game against the Timberwolves. Victory Christian then defeated fourth-seeded Rancho Buena Vista High School in the 82-46 semifinal.

“Every team they faced they had pretty much the same score,” Terry said.

The championship game against Ramona had a 72-57 final score, although the Knights had leads of 20-9 after the first quarter, 35-23 at halftime and 60-43 during the fourth period. The CIF championship win gave Victory Christian an overall record of 24-8.

Brotherton as well as Carmona is a junior. Charland is a sophomore.

“Three of those starters, they will be back,” Terry said. “Just excited about the future of the program.”

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].


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