75-30 Loss Ends Natomas Boys Season

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

This definitely was not the way it was supposed to end.

After a fantastic run through the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs en route to a DIV title five days ago, the Natomas High School boys basketball team took an early exit from the CIF Northern California Regional playoffs after a blowout 75-30 loss to Fortuna High School of the North Coast Section.

Chico-State bound Fortuna guard Nate Ambrosini outscored the Nighthawks with 31 points.

From start to finish, Fortuna (26-3) put on a basketball fundamentals clinic with backdoor passes, open jump shots and sound defense that held Nighthawks leading scorers Mekhi Williams and Phillip Morgan to just 18 points.

“We came out flat,” Natomas High coach Brian Hamilton said. “We were flat the whole game.”

Natomas High (19-9) beat Encina High School 81-58 on Saturday at Sleep Train Arena. But on their home court at The Cage on Wednesday, the shots didn’t fall, the breakaway plays didn’t transpire for the Nighthawks.

Williams led Natomas High with 14 points and scored 106 in the five playoff games.

The loss snaps a 10-game win streak for the Nighthawks.

Fortuna, which lost to Marin Catholic High School for the North Coast Section DIV title 71-57, played a very disciplined and well-coached game for the entire 32 minutes.

“There are few teams that are that disciplined,” Hamilton said. “Then with us coming out flat, it was a recipe for disaster.”

Hamilton was unable to hold in his tears after the game, taking a moment to step outside before talking to his players. He kept his words to a minimum, but hugged his players like Morgan, who played his final game for the Nighthawks.

“Judging by the players on (Fortuna), I knew they were disciplined,” Morgan said. “But we had no game plan and we just went out there blind.”

Morgan did hit a 40-foot jump shot to end the first quarter. Natomas trailed 12-7 at that point, but had just the three-pointer from Morgan and two layups by Williams in the first quarter.

Fortuna opened the second with a 11-0 run and had an 8-0 run to start the third. By that point it was 40-17.

Natomas had a 14-win turnaround after posting a 5-18 record last season and the section championship was the third in school history and the first since winning consecutive titles in 1999-2000.

“It was good season but it sucks to lose like this,” Morgan said. “I just told my guys that the ones that are coming back next year that they now have experience and to build off this. They know what it’s like to lose it in Northern California playoffs. Stay in the gym and get better.”

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