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Lindhurst falls in semifinals
SACRAMENTO – For about 16 minutes on Tuesday night, the dream seemed like it was becoming a reality.
The Lindhurst High boys basketball team talked all year about the goal of getting to Power Balance Pavilion and playing in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship.
The Blazers' first-half effort against No. 1 Foothill looked like a section-title contender.
Lindhurst stood toe-to-toe with the top team in D-III and went into halftime with a 26-21 lead.
Then, the dream turned into a nightmare.
Foothill outscored Lindhurst 38-13 in the second half and ran away with the bid to play for the section championship with a 59-39 win at Cosumnes River College.
The Blazers were 6 of 26 from the field in the second half.
Foothill mounted a 14-2 run at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth to race by the Blazers (23-7).
Lindhurst coach Bob Jensen said his team's inability to make shots and rebound in the second half led to the loss.
"We put ourselves in a position to win in the first half and then we kind of let it slip away," Jensen said. "It's disappointing to get this close and work so hard and be in a position to win, then have it taken away.
UC Santa Barbara signee Michael Bryson has been in the headlines all season for the Mustangs (27-3), yet it was the backcourt play of Kelly Bender and Douglas James that made the difference for Foothill.
Bender scored a game-high 17 points and James added 13 as both consistently drove the lane and used their quickness to make lay-ups.
James scored the first seven points of that third-quarter run.
Bryson scored 14, hitting a couple long-range 3-pointers. Lindhurst didn't make one 3-point basket all night.
Senior James Trujillo led Lindhurst with 13 points and fellow senior Miguel French scored 10. Senior Jarrade Davis put up nine for the Blazers.
Foothill advances to the D-III championship at Power Balance Pavilion on Friday night where they will face No. 2 Sierra, which dismantled Center 67-50.
Lindhurst's season isn't over yet though.
For finishing in the top four of the section, Lindhurst secured a bid to play in the CIF Nor Cal Regionals, beginning next week.
The Blazers will find out who their opponent is this weekend.
As disappointing as Tuesday night was, Jensen said his team has to make a quick recovery.
There's a new goal now — a state championship.
"We have to get past this," Jensen said. "It's time to start a new tournament."