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Warriors hold Bulldogs to three points in girls basketball win

Fallbrook High School’s girls basketball team is believed to have set a school record for fewest points allowed in the Warriors’ 56-3 victory Jan. 31 at Ramona High School.

“Our defense was all over the place,” said Fallbrook coach Trae Harrison.

Although Ramona entered the game with a 3-16 record, the Bulldogs hadn’t scored fewer than 15 points in a game since their season-opening 74-14 loss to El Camino. On three occasions during those 19 games, Ramona was held to 15 points including the Warriors’ 68-15 victory Jan. 12 in Fallbrook. The Bulldogs followed that game with a 76-34 loss against Mount Carmel, a 38-30 victory over San Pasqual, a 68-20 defeat against Escondido, and a 41-19 loss against Valley Center.

Ironically, the 68 points Fallbrook scored Jan. 12 wasn’t the most for the Warriors during the first round of Valley League play. Fallbrook and Mount Carmel both entered their Jan. 24 game at Mount Carmel with 4-0 league records. “The girls always come to play against Mount Carmel,” Harrison said.

The Warriors had a 15-4 lead after the first quarter, held a 35-15 halftime advantage, and outscored the Sundevils by a 23-4 margin in the third period. The final score was 69-29. That game gave Fallbrook sole possession of first place in the Valley League standings.

The unofficial rivalry between Fallbrook and Mount Carmel is based on historical league championship quests rather than geography. Three of the Fallbrook starters are freshmen and had no part of that history. “The underclassmen just kind of fed in to what the upperclassmen told them,” Harrison said.

Fallbrook’s only senior starter, Claire Nordeen, had 21 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, four steals, and three blocked shots against the Sundevils. The leading scorer and rebounder, freshman Grace Nordeen, had 23 points and 18 rebounds while adding three assists, three steals, and a blocked shot.

Janice Garcia, a junior who joined the varsity as a sophomore, had 14 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks, two steals, and an assist. The other two freshmen starters, Emery Pizzo and Taylor Thomas, had three points apiece. Thomas pulled down six rebounds and dished out two assists. Pizzo had three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block.

The second round of league play began Jan. 26. Fallbrook hosted San Pasqual and won by a 60-15 margin. Harrison was San Pasqual’s head coach for six years before becoming an assistant to Jessica Ramirez for the 2019-20 Warriors and then taking over as Fallbrook’s head coach for 2020-21. “I still have ties to the school,” Harrison said of San Pasqual.

That creates another rivalry. “The girls know that,” Harrison said. “They always come ready to play.”

Fallbrook had an 18-4 lead after one quarter, scored all 12 points in the second period, and had a 20-6 scoring advantage in the third quarter. Claire Nordeen had 16 points, 10 rebounds, six steals, and two assists. Grace Nordeen contributed 13 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and an assist. Pizzo provided 13 points, three assists, a steal, and a rebound.

Garcia had eight points along with four steals and four rebounds. Thomas scored seven points and added four steals, three rebounds, and an assist. The large lead allowed Harrison to give playing time to substitutes, and sophomore Ashlyn Morgan had three points, three assists, and two steals.

Harrison credits the team’s ability to adapt to past allowances for the record-setting game against Ramona. “We changed settings,” he said. “We changed some specific elements to our game.”

The score was 22-0 after the first quarter and 33-0 at halftime. Jan. 31 was Senior Night for Ramona (the Bulldogs’ 2023-24 roster included seven seniors), and all three Ramona points were scored by seniors during the third quarter. Fallbrook scored 17 points during the third period. A running clock was used for the fourth quarter when the Warriors scored their final six points while holding Ramona scoreless.

Fallbrook had not allowed fewer than 10 points in a game since a 62-6 victory at El Camino on Dec. 16, 2022. The previous time the Warriors held a league opponent to fewer than 10 points was on Jan. 20, 2016, when Orange Glen was in the Valley League and Fallbrook won a 55-9 home game.

Prior to joining the Valley League, the Warriors had a 52-6 non-league home win over Orange Glen on Jan. 17, 2014. Fallbrook was last held to under 10 points in a game on Nov. 27, 2007, when the Warriors opened their season with a 75-7 tournament loss to Rancho Bernardo.

Nine different Fallbrook players scored points against the Bulldogs while eight Warriors had at least one rebound. The Warriors had 27 rebounds consisting of nine offensive and 18 defensive boards, 20 steals, and four blocked shots. Claire Nordeen had 23 points, 11 steals, seven rebounds, five assists, and two blocks. Garcia provided 11 points, three steals, and two rebounds.

Grace Nordeen gave the Warriors seven points, nine rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Thomas had four points, three rebounds, two blocks, two assists, and a steal. Three points were scored by senior Jasmine Hernandez. Pizzo, Morgan, and sophomores Olivia Castillo and Jada Nelson each had two points. Nelson also had two steals, a rebound, and an assist.

The victory gave Fallbrook a 7-0 Valley League record and an 18-7 overall mark.

“I was very excited what we did that game. It’s just a matter of maintaining that level of play throughout the season,” Harrison said.

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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