May 28, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Foothill tries to secure first CIF state title with victory Saturday against Elk Grove

Foothill players celebrate after winning the CIF Southern California Regional Tuesday. (Photo: OC Sports Zone, Fernando M. Donado).

Foothill High School’s boys basketball team is hoping to complete the mission Saturday afternoon in Sacramento.

The Knights, the CIF Southern California Regional champions, take on Northern California champion Elk Grove at 4 p.m. in the CIF State Division II final at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Foothill will be out to win its first state title.

Foothill, the top seed from the South, brings a 31-3 record into the game and is coming off a 46-41 victory over No. 2 Los Altos in the regional final. Click here for photos and game story.

“We are all very excited to have come this far and have the opportunity to play in a state championship final,” Foothill Coach Yousof Etemadi said Friday.

“This will be a great experience for our players, coaches and our school.  We get to travel to Sacramento and play in the biggest game of the year in a NBA arena. What more can we ask for?”

Elk Grove (27-6) advanced to the finals with a 60-54 victory over Branson Tuesday night.

“Elk Grove looks tough on film, they are big and physical and we need to match their physicality on Saturday,” Etemadi said. “I’m hoping we can defend well and push the pace early to wear them out. We have played in a lot of big games this season and that should have helped us prepare for tomorrow’s game. I’m confident in my guys, we will come out and compete the entire game. “

Foothill opened the Southern California regional defeating Francis Parker 67-59, then captured a thrilling 96-95 victory over Carlsbad in three overtimes before topping Rancho Cucamanga 69-64 in the semifinals.

The game will mark the final one for Foothill assistant coach Gary Sully, who has announced he is retiring.

A large contingent of Foothill fans is expected to follow the team to Sacramento. A capacity crowd filled the Foothill gymnasium for Tuesday’s regional final.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com