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Foothill rushes to early lead in league

It has become clear in recent years that Foothill’s boys basketball team will make its way toward the top of the Southeast Division by season’s end.

But this time, despite returning only one starter, the Falcons have wasted no time sprinting to the top of the league.

Foothill defeated visiting Liberty 64-49 Friday to climb to 4-0 in the Southeast. The Falcons don’t play again until Jan. 19.

“To get to this point and be undefeated is good, especially with 11 days off until our next game,” coach Kevin Soares said. “So next week we can work on some things we need to clean up.”

It was Foothill’s defense that cleaned up Friday. The Falcons forced 26 turnovers and turned them into 23 points.

“That’s our M.O.,” Soares said. “We worked really hard in the offseason conditioning our bodies so we can try to wear teams down. And it’s been working pretty well so far.”

Foothill also uses a deep rotation to stay fresh. The Falcons used 13 players against Liberty, 12 by halftime.

That depth lets Soares find rest for regulars such as leading scorer Evan Roquemore, who Soares said might see more minutes late in the season.

“Guys like Evan need that break,” Soares said. “He wasn’t getting it early in the season and it started wearing on him. So we’ve got to get him a break sometimes, because he might play the full 32 (minutes) down the stretch.”

Roquemore had some huge scoring games early in the season but was held to 10 points Friday. That’s fine with Soares, who thinks a more balanced team will be more successful.

“We figured out that any time Evan scores 30, except for that very first game, we’ve lost,” Soares said. “So we try and keep him in that 25-or-less range, and that means other people are getting shots. It’s a team game. You need other people to score to help you win.”

Power forward Dakota Yamka, who entered averaging fewer than four points, led a balanced attack with 12 points and six rebounds.

Seven players scored six or more. Roquemore supplied seven assists.

“I think these kids want to win more than anything,” Soares said. “Individual stats don’t really mean anything.”

Liberty’s Tim Rambo and Aaron Navitsky scored 11 each.

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