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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Senior leadership guides basketball to WSL title

Led by the determination of dedicated seniors and disciplinary coaches, the varsity basketball team captured their first outright West Sierra League (WSL) championship in 11 years and gained the #3 seed in the Division 5 playoffs.

Out in front of the opposition the entire year, FCS is headed into the playoffs with a 11-3 WSL record and 17 -10 overall. The success of this year’s team has been a welcomed surprise to everyone, according to head coach Christopher Schultz.

“No one thought we would be in first place all by ourselves,” coach Schultz said. “Good team defense and hard playing are keys to our success. We exceeded our expectations throughout the season.”

The Eagles clinched their first outright WSL crown on Feb. 14 when they defeated Firebaugh 52-50. Sam Babcock, ’02, led the team with 17 points while Jon Steele, ’03, added 15. The Eagles, however, were expected to win by a larger margin.

“Our game was closer than it should have been,” coach Schultz said. “We had some costly turnovers and were somewhat affected by the pressure of needing to win to clinch outright.”

The team received the number 3 seed for the Division 5 playoffs and will face Strathmore at home on Feb. 21. If the boys want to continue to win, determined play is a necessity, according to Steele.

“If we want to do well in the playoffs we have to come out and be aggressive,” Steele said. “Whatever happens I’m super pumped up about how good we did this year I and hope to mirror our success in the playoffs.”

The road to the championship will be difficult, with the Eagles having to defeat defending Valley champions Immanuel in the second round, but Schultz remains optimistic.

“Anything can happen in one game,” Schultz said. “If we play well and Immanuel doesn’t then we have the chance to pull off the upset.”

Winning is a team effort and this year it was a group of seniors that contributed essential elements to the team, Schultz said.

“Leadership was the key,” coach Schultz said. “Our senior trio of Babcock, Tim Haydock, and John Wiens consistently lead our team in effort, determination, and character. They did the little things on and off the court that championship teams need in order to be successful.”

Babcock leads the team in scoring, averaging 19 points a game in WSL play.

“It’s been great to come back from an injury season and do so well,” Babcock said. “On top of my success the team has done great as well. Coach has been really supportive of me and the team has really come together this year.”

According to Steele, support from the home fans has been a key to their victories and the team would appreciate a large crowd against Strathmore. Tickets will cost $2 at the door because of California Interscholastic Federation regulations for playoff games.

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