The Miracle on Ice. 11th seeded George Mason reaching the Final Four. David Tyree and the Giants beating the undefeated Patriots. Entering Saturday’s holy hoops tilt with Jesuit, a Christian Brothers victory would have been on par with these three legendary upsets.
However, no magic was in the air on Saturday night in Carmichael. The Marauders started the game on a 15-0 run and never looked back, winning by a final score of 88-60. The Falcons were able to cut the lead to 15 early in the third quarter, but Jesuit quickly responded with consecutive hoops to put the lead back over 20. Andre Albason (’18) was the only consistent playmaker for the Falcons all evening, as he finished with 32 points. Here are three takeaways from the game.
Losing a rivalry game, especially in blowout fashion, is never ideal. But this isn’t a loss that will derail the Falcons’ goals for the season. Three league games remain: on the road at Mira Loma, home for senior night vs Rio Americano, and at El Camino. The Falcons are tied with Rio Americano for first place in the CAL at 6-1. The Falcons control their own destiny and hold the tiebreaker over Rio by virtue of their 62-60 OT win against the Raiders last month. A CAL title would be the first in three years for the Falcons. It would also set them up with a high seed in the Sac Joaquin Section D-III playoffs, paving an easier route to the Section Championship game.
Slow starts have plagued the Falcons all season long, and Saturday was no different. Against lesser teams, the Falcons have gotten away with slow starts on multiple occasions this season. Jesuit proved to be a different animal though, as their height, shooting, and overwhelmed the Falcons. The Falcons must begin games with much more energy in order to not be down double digits early.
Although the Falcons have trailed in many games this season, it has allowed them to display incredible toughness and resolve. On multiple occasions, double digits leads have been blown by opposing teams who let their guard down and are overwhelmed by the burst of effort that the Falcons consistently play with during the second half of games. Going forward, this team should never be counted out of a game, no matter how large the deficit. Albason, Will Warner (’18), and Anthony Zavala (’19) have all proven on separate occasions that they’re capable of making clutch shots down the stretch to turn a desperate comeback attempt into a come from behind victory.