East County Sports

Knights pace Parker for yet another league rout



By James McHugh
© East County Sports.com


RANCHO SAN DIEGO (2-11-16) – For years Foothills Christian tried to find a way out of the Citrus League because of a lack of balance that forced the Knights to play a number opponents twice each season in games that seemed to benefit no one.


In most games over a five year span the Knights were accustomed to a running clock in the fourth quarter of their games because of a CIF rule which requires the clock to continue running through all stoppages (with the exception of time outs) if one team is leading by 40-points or more at any point in the fourth quarter.


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FCHS’ Luis Salgado drives past a Francis Parker defender on Wednesday night at Cuyamaca College.

After the Knights jumped to the Coastal League last season, widely regarded as one of, if not the toughest league in the San Diego Section, the days of running clocks seemed to be in the past. Wednesday night (Feb. 10) Foothills Christian found themselves playing yet another shortened fourth quarter as the Knights trounced visiting Francis Parker 75-40 at Cuyamaca College. Foothills led Parker 68-28 heading into the final quarter to spur the mercy rule.


All-American T.J. LEAF led the Knights scoring on the night with 27 points on 13-15 shooting which included a slew of dunks off passes from seemingly every Knight on the roster. Foothills Christian dished 24 assists on the night on 32 field goals.


OMAJE SMITH had nine points for the Knights to go along with a team high eight rebounds and four steals on the night.


“Omajae played the best game he’s had in a while and everyone else was really good as well. If we play aggressive and play our brand of basketball, we will be a hard out in the playoffs,” assistant coach TROY LEAF said after the blowout victory. “If we don’t, and we play the way we played last weekend, anyone will be able to beat us on a given night,” Leaf said, referring to the Knights performance against Mater Dei of Santa Ana.


LUIS SALGADO added three additional three pointers to his career record against Francis Parker while NIKKO PARANADA pitched in eight points and seven assists. Sophomore JORDAN STARR grabbed four rebounds and dished four assists. Starr is expected to be a catalyst for the Knights moving forward as the county’s No. 1 team is set to graduate a load of talent in Leaf, Salgado, Smith and Paranada.


Foothills Christian plays its final home game of the regular season this Friday (Feb. 12)  at 7:00 pm against La Jolla Country Day at Cuyamaca College. Senior night will also be the final regular season home game for head coach BRAD LEAF who will be stepping down at season’s end and likely spending some time watching his youngest son play some PAC 12 basketball for UCLA next season.


Foothills Christian:  T.J. Leaf 27 (8 reb, 4 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk), Luis Salgado 13 (4 reb, 4 ast), Omajae Smith 9 (8 reb, 4 stl, 3 ast), Nikko Paranada 8 (7 ast, 4 reb), Jordan Starr 7 (4 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl), Kale Baldado 5 (6 reb, 1 blk), Jordan VanOmmering 3 (2 blk, 1 ast, 1 reb, 1 stl), Jaren Nafarrete 3 (1 reb), T.J. Lowery (1 reb, 1 ast).

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