Sheldon lost to Modesto Christian Wednesday, 74-67, in the Sac-Joaquin Section's Division I semi-finals. With the Huskies' loss, the Elk Grove girls loss Tuesday and the Bradshaw Christian boys loss last Friday Championship Saturday at Sleep Train Arena will be absent an Elk Grove-area basketball team for the first time since 2002.
Sheldon' vaunted shooters and ball handlers did play a good first half against the second-seeded Crusaders, had a 12 point lead in the second quarter and led 34-29 at halftime. But, the talented Crusaders became in the second half the team that won Division II last year, Division III in 2013 and 2014 and won a Division IV championship in four of the five seasons between 2008 and 2012.
Crusader forward Christian Ellis was unleashed and he was constantly on the attack, typcially knocking Huskies' defenders to the floor as he headed to the basket. The 6-3 senior ended up with 32 points on 11-of-22 shooting and collected eight rebounds.
"We got beat by Christian, we just couldn't stop him," Huskies' head coach Joey Rollings said.
At the same time Modesto Christian put a lid on Sheldon's top scorer Matt Manning. After scoring ten points in the first half, the 6-7 senior hit a lay-up and an ensueing free throw on a three-point play with 5:56 left in the third quarter. He didn't have a basket the rest of the game, except for one free throw.
"We didn't get the shots to drop in the second half," Rollings said.
Meanwhile Sheldon Rollings tried just about everyone on the roster to guard Ellis with little success.
One impressive play Wednesday was the job Huskies' 6-3 Drew Cobb did on Modesto Christian's 6-10 center Robinson Idehen on both ends of the court. Cobb was constantly keeping Idehen away from the boards and several times did some pretty spins and moves on the man seven inches taller than him.
"Drew does a good job defensively at all times," Rollings said.
Idehen ended up making only one of six field goal attempts and collected nine rebounds.
Rollings said his appeals to the game officials to start calling offensive fouls on Modesto Christian seemed to fall on deaf ears and as a result, the Crusaders began to physically move Sheldon under the basket pretty successfully in the second half.
"They had just 12 fouls against them? Come on," Rollings exclaimed. "In these big games you need some calls and we just didn't get them. Well, that just the game."
The Huskies, along with the Elk Grove girls and the Bradshaw boys, will now wait for Sunday night for the brackets for the CIF State Basketball Championships.
Box Score: Modesto Christian 74, Sheldon 67
E.Duplechan 5-10 5-6 15, Cobb 5-9 2-3 12, Brooks 9-13 1-1 21, Manning 5-10 2-3 14, Greene 1-6 0-0 2, I.Duplechan 1-2 0-0 3
Modesto Christian (29-1)
Grays 3-6 0-0 9, Ellis 11-22 9-11 32, Chen 2-5 7-8 12, Dawkins 5-6 0-2 10, Idehen 1-6 3-4 5, Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Rojas 2-4 0-0 4
Halftime Score: Sheldon 34, Modesto Chr. 29