SACRAMENTO — It’s hard to win basketball games when you don’t get many second-chance shots.
The Fairfield High boys basketball team was limited to one shot on most possessions as the Falcons fell to Modesto Christian 61-50 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Championship at Sleep Train Arena, Friday night.
The Crusaders finished the game with 52 rebounds – 35 on the defensive end – matching the Falcons’ total rebounds.
“We anticipated that we would have trouble keeping them off the glass,” Fairfield High coach Eddie Wilson said. “I’m disappointed in the sense that I don’t think we played our best. You want to come to this game and at least walk away feeling like we lost because our best wasn’t good enough.”
Fairfield only trailed 26-23 at the half but the Crusaders pulled away in the third quarter, leading by as much as 44-31 in the period. Modesto’s Jeff Wu was the difference in the period, draining two 3-pointers, while Anthony Townes scored seven of his game-high 17 points in the quarter.
It was much of the same in the fourth quarter as Modesto Christian opened up as much as a 61-45 lead with 1:26 to play.
Over the final 16 minutes of play, the Falcons struggled to put the ball in the hoop.
“I feel like we missed a bunch of easy ones,” Wilson said. “We struggled at the free throw line. It was kind of the story of our season, but they played hard.
“We got a lot of junk points by the effort and intensity, but what can you say.”
Unree Johnson led the Falcons with 13 points and DeMoriaye Hart-Spikes had 10.
Javon Adams added 11 rebounds for the Falcons.
The first quarter was a complete back-and-forth affair with neither team scoring more than one basket in a row.
Modesto Christian’s Wu opened the game’s scoring with a 15-foot jumper, with Fairfield’s Adams responding with a steal and a basket in traffic to knot the score at 2.
The Crusaders grabbed a 4-2 lead on a inside bucket by Townes before the score was tied again on a basket by Fairfield’s Anthony Bryant.
Baskets by Modesto Christian’s Kevin Hamlet and Fairfield’s Johnson made the score 6-6 before the Crusaders grabbed a slim 7-6 advantage on a free throw.
Fairfield held its first lead of the game at 8-7 on a layup by Hart-Spikes but the Crusaders regained the lead with a basket of their own.
The Falcons led again t 10-9 on another bucket by Hart-Spikes, but another free throw by Modest Christian’s Townes and a three-point play by Christian Ellis made the score 13-10 after the first quarter.
Hart-Spikes opened the second period with a 3-pointer and added a free throw to give Fairfield a 14-13 lead, but Townes responded again with a 3-point play to put the Crusaders up 16-14.
The Falcons’ Johnson tied the game at 16-16, but a pair of free throws and another basket by Townes gave Modesto Christian a 20-16 lead.
A little later, a 3-pointer from Fairfield’s John Jones tied the score at 21 before the Crusaders opened a 26-21 advantage after netting the next five points.
A basket by the Falcons’ Johnson made the halftime score 26-23 in favor of the Crusaders.