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Falcons’ defensive pressure sets tone

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Front Range suffocates Denver Academy en route to an eighth straight win

By Michael Hicks

DENVER — There’s not much glitz in the offense of the Front Range Christian boys basketball team. But if one wants to know why the Falcons are undefeated thus far during the 2013-14 season, just take a look at their defense.
The full-court man-to-man pressure that Brad Folk’s team brings predicates the play of the offense. That was evident in its 58-45 win Jan. 15 at Denver Academy.
Braidon McLean led three Falcons in double figures with 14 points as Front Range Christian, which never trailed, improved to 8-0 overall, 2-0 in the 2A Mile High League. Boomer Bate added 13 points, while Seth Scadden scored 10 for the Falcons, who’ve won all of their games by an average of 16.6 points. And most of that success can be attributed to Front Range Christian’s defense.
“We have a lot of fast players this year and not a lot of height,” McLean said. “We’re doing good, playing hard, playing as a team.”
Folk agreed.
“This year it’s a big focus of ours of trying to put pressure on them. We’ve been working really hard in practice, especially with the drills we use to extend that pressure. We feel the more pressure we can put on teams, the less we have to be perfect on offense,” Folk said. “That’s been a goal all year. So far we’ve had some success with it.”
That said, the Falcons’ offense wasn’t all that shabby, either. Front Range Christian opened the game on an 8-0 run en route to a 12-2 first-quarter lead. The cushion never got under double digits after a Scadden layup with 5 minutes, 22 seconds left in the third quarter. The lead eventually grew to 18 points early in the fourth quarter.
But not everything was perfect for the Falcons. The flow of the game was choppy, and Folk’s offense struggled at times, like in the second quarter when it went more than five minutes without a field goal and it was held to just two baskets in a six-plus-minute span of the fourth quarter.
“We’ve been working on attacking the zone,” Folk said. “They went into that 2-3 zone. They extended their pressure. To be honest with you, they competed; they played hard. I give Denver Academy all the credit because they played extremely hard. … It was a poor shooting night for us, and we’ve got to keep working on that in practice to get better.”
Marcellus Caston led the Mustangs (4-7, 0-1) with a game-high 20 points. No one else scored more than seven points.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.