Village News Reporter
Fallbrook High School's boys basketball team had a 6-4 record after the Warriors' first 10 games of the 2023-2024 season.
A 67-52 home win Tuesday, Dec. 12, against Crawford High School was the Warriors' fifth consecutive victory. The winning record over a season's first 10 games was the first for Fallbrook since the 2019-2020 Warriors had an 8‑2 start.
"I'm very pleased," Fallbrook coach Jonathan Terry said.
The Warriors began the season by losing four of their first five games, but the win over Crawford was the fifth consecutive triumph for Fallbrook.
"We played through some adversity, but this team really cares about each other," Terry said.
The 11-player varsity roster includes three seniors. The program also has 12 junior varsity players and 11 boys on Fallbrook's freshman team.
Fallbrook's season began Nov. 11, with a 64-52 loss at La Jolla High School. The Warriors' first win of 2023-2024 was by a 61-45 score Nov. 13, at home against West Hills High School. A 20-point effort by sophomore Elliott Watkins was complemented by 12 points apiece from senior Maliki Brotherton and junior Xavier Charland with senior Christian Myers adding 10 points and sophomore Petey Pizzo scoring the other seven. Myers pulled down 14 rebounds and had three steals. Watkins had six rebounds and obtained four steals. Brotherton also had four steals. Brotherton, Charland and Pizzo each grabbed four rebounds.
The game against West Hills was part of the Nov. 13-18 Del Lago Tournament. Fallbrook's other three games in that tournament were a 54-51 loss to Escondido Charter School, a 65-64 Mira Mesa High School victory, and a 77‑70 Mission Vista High School win.
The Warriors returned to play Nov. 29, with a 72-56 victory at Clairemont High School. Charland led the team with 19 points, Watkins had 14 points and five rebounds, and Myers contributed nine points and 10 rebounds.
Part of the reason for Fallbrook's 1-4 start is that senior Sammy Carmona was not on the court for those five games due to an injury and junior Evan Thomas was participating in football playoff games rather than in basketball contests. Carmona, who scored six points against Clairemont, had 24 points Dec. 1, in Fallbrook's 62-60 home win against Del Lago Academy. Watkins had 16 points and Myers added 12 points.
A Dec. 6 home game against High Tech High Mesa ended as a 74-37 Fallbrook triumph. Carmona provided 20 points and eight rebounds, Myers had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Watkins scored 11 points with three rebounds.
Fallbrook's 48-45 home win Dec. 8, against Mission Vista included 48 team rebounds as well as 48 Warriors points. Brotherton pulled down 11 rebounds, Myers grabbed 10 boards, Thomas took nine balls from the glass, Carmona obtained eight rebounds and Watkins came down with seven missed shots. Brotherton led the team with 17 points, Carmona had 11 points and Thomas scored seven points.
Crawford High entered the Dec. 12 game with a 6-2 season record. Crawford head coach Ed Baskin and Terry both have club coaching experience and have known each other since Terry was coaching in the southern part of the county.
"It's hard to coach against your best friend. He knows what I'm going to do. I know what he's going to do," Baskin said.
Both teams held a lead during the first period although the quarter ended with Fallbrook holding a 23-17 advantage. The Warriors outscored the Colts by an 11-2 margin in the second quarter.
"They were a little bit more explosive than we anticipated," Baskin said.
"That just shows the fundamentals of our defense," Terry said. "Defense is the heart of our program. We emphasize defense. Very pleased with our defense tonight."
The 34-19 halftime score was followed by a third quarter in which Fallbrook's 18-15 scoring advantage gave the Warriors a 57-34 cushion. It allowed Terry to provide game time to Fallbrook's substitutes.
"That's kind of what our culture is. Everyone has a role on our team. Everyone is valued on our team," Terry said.
The Colts outscored Fallbrook by an 18-10 margin in the final period.
"The fourth quarter was a madhouse. The intensity stepped up, but we ran out of time," Baskin said.
"They played well," Baskin said of Fallbrook. "I hope we see them in the playoffs."
Crawford and Fallbrook are both in Division IV for CIF playoff purposes.
"It was good tonight. I thought both teams competed," Terry said.
"It was a good win," Terry said. "I thought it was a big game, and I thought that we responded well."
Carmona had 29 points and 17 rebounds against the Colts.
"It was a really fun game, competitive and fast-paced, and I found my rhythm and just got into the game," he said.
Watkins scored 14 points and had five rebounds.
"I think the on-ball pressure was good," he said. "I feel like we got out on transition really good."
Brotherton had 11 points along with three rebounds. Myers provided seven points and five rebounds.
"I thought we were good on transition," Terry said. "We had good ball movement."