Late turnovers sink Redding Christian girls in 48-47 NorCal D-VI final loss

Redding Christian School’s Kaylee Jones (35) puts pressure on Forest Lake Christian’s Ali McDaniel (13) during the first quarter of the CIF NorCal Regional Championship semifinal game on Saturday night at Foothill High School. The Lions lost to Forest Lake Christian 48-47. (Photo by Hung T. Vu)

PALO CEDRO — Saturday night’s CIF NorCal Region Division VI semifinals saw No. 5 Forest Lake Christian Falcons upset the top-seeded Redding Christian Lions (27-4) in a nail-biter 48-47, sponsored by Redding Rancheria.

The first quarter, the Falcons would take a 14-10 lead due in part of Amber Jackson’s six points in the period. The second quarter the Lions would even it up at 24, feeding the post Sammie Wunner and two 3-pointers from Aleah Matos would tie things up going into intermission.

Out of the half, Redding Christian would get it going, scoring a game-high 17 points in the quarter and taking a five-point lead headed into the fourth.

The final period was a nail-biter. Both teams started slow with just one field goal combined midway through. Down the stretch, Alexander would hit the go-ahead bucket with 1:10 remaining putting the Lions up 47-46. But Wunner grabbed an offensive rebound and mistakenly kicked it out to the perimeter but right to an opposing player. Forest Lake would  later answer on a layup by Bella O’Neill with nine seconds left to take a one-point lead.

Redding Christian would turn it over the next possession on a questionable traveling call from Wunner, who took plenty of contact driving to the hoop. Forest Lake would be fouled and miss the front end of a 1-and-1 with four seconds left, but Redding Christian wouldn’t be able to get a shot off before the buzzer to lose 48-47.

“Turnovers; we turned it over on some key possessions and there was a key moment in the game in my opinion, we missed a layup, got the rebound, missed the putback layup, they came down and buried a 3 with zero on the shot clock the next possession,” Redding Christian coach Scott Alexander said. “That’s a five-point swing right there. I felt like that was the turning point in the game.”

Forest Lake was led by Jackson who led all scorers with 22 points, 2 assists, and 4 rebounds. Jackson was everywhere on the floor. Knocking it down from distance, off the dribble, and making the right plays all night. Ali McDaniel would follow that up with an all around game 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

“We’ve lost a couple close ones but we’ve mainly been on the winning side of close ones and that gave us a ‘don’t worry we’ve been through this before’ type of attitude and that was the difference,” said Forest Lake coach John McDaniel.

For the Lions, they battled and fell short in crunch time. A five-point swing in the fourth quarter seemed to be the momentum change in the game. Wunner had a double-double, 13 points and 12 boards. Sadie Alexander led the team in scoring with 17 points and four steals. Connecting on five long balls (four in the second half). The Lions finish the season with an overall record of 27-4 and won their first Northern Section Division VI championship.

“I’m so proud of the girls they had another amazing season,” Alexander said reflecting on the year. “I told them I didn’t expect them to get back to the final four or even have a chance to go to the state final game after last year. About halfway through the season I started believing we had a shot at it. I’m really proud of them.”

#5 Forest Lake Christian 48, #1 Redding Christian 47
Redding Christian 10-14-17-6—47
Forest Lake 14-10-12-12—48
#1 Redding Christian (27-4): Alexander 17, Wunner 13, A. Matos 9, K. Jones 6, C. Jones 2.
#5 Forest Lake (24-6): Jackson 22, McDaniel 10, Wood 7, Sween 5, O’Neill 4.
3-pointers—FLC 4 ( McDaniel 2, Jackson, Wood); Redding Christian 7 (Alexander 5, A. Matos 2) .

About Max Keokhamdy

Freelance journalist

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