East County Sports

Short-handed Foothills has a better night than Bishop’s



By James McHugh

© East County Sports.com
RANCHO SAN DIEGO (1-24-16) — Foothills Christian moved to 4-0 in Coastal League play and 13-3 overall Saturday night (Jan. 23) with a 69-37 pounding of Bishop’s at Cuyamaca College.


The Knights used a matchup against a 4-12 Bishop’s team that is seeing a down season, as a means to get healthy and give their roster ample playing time all the way through. Neither senior guard NIKKO PARANADA nor senior forward OMAJE SMITH played for Foothills Christian for precautionary reasons.


Senior McDonald’s All-American T.J. LEAF scored 10 of his game high 26 points in the first quarter on 5-5 shooting. Leaf finished the night 12-15 from the floor and added 10 rebounds and six assists to his career totals as well. The six assists now give Leaf 552 for his career, good for 14th on the San Diego Section’s all-time list. Leaf passed John Kerstetter who played for Escondido Adventist from 1998-2001.


Senior LUIS SALGADO added a trio of three pointers to his section record which now stands at 292. Salgado’s biggest moment however, came early in the third quarter when the senior threw down the first dunk of his high school career much to the joy of Foothills’ fans. Salgado is continually praised as one of the Knights’ greatest assets on and off the court by school officials and coaches alike. Assistant Coach TROY LEAF was as surprised as anyone to see the jam, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do that in practice, even with no one guarding him.”


JAREN NAFARRETE and DANIEL HOFFMAN each saw significant floor time throughout the night, running point for the Knights with Paranada resting. T.J. LOWERY and KALE BALDADO later connected on an alley-oop with Baldado’s dunk putting an explanation point on the type of night it was for Bishop’s defenders.


Where Foothills Christian excelled on offense they impressed moreso on the defensive end. The Knights caused 20 Bishop’s turnovers and allowed just one first half field goal. Sophomore JORDAN STARR ended the night in double digits with 10 points, seeing somewhat limited playing time the first half due to foul trouble. Starr finished the night connecting on his last three turnaround jumpers.


“Our guys had a good energy to start the game and that’s a direct result of good practices all week. We are getting better as the season goes on and that’s what you want to see as a coach, gradual progression. We want to be playing our best basketball in the coming months,” Troy Leaf said after the win.


Foothills Christian will play a full slate of games next week. The Knights play at Francis Parker Tuesday (Jan. 26) in a re-schedule of a game that was moved earlier in the season to allow the Knights a travel day for their HoopHall event in Springfield Massachusetts. That game is slated for a 7:30 start. The Knights will then turn around and face Army-Navy Academy Wednesday night (Jan. 27) at 7:00 pm at Cuyamaca College and Horizon Friday night (Jan. 29) at 7:30 at Horizon.


Foothills Christian:  T.J. Leaf 26 (10 reb, 6 ast, 1 stl), Luis Salgado 13 (3 reb, 1 stl, 1 blk), Jordan Starr 10 (3 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk), Kale Baldado 8 (1 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk), Jordan VanOmmering 5 (4 stl, 1 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk), Jaren Nafarrete 4 (4 ast, 3 stl, 1 reb), Connor George 3, T.J. Lowery (4 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk), Daniel Hoffman 3 ast, 1 reb, 1 stl).

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