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Bruins go back-to-back for first time in seven years

By: Mike Ray
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COLFAX– Last week, the Bear River boys basketball team ended a nearly three-year winless drought in the Pioneer Valley League with a 76-67 win over a tough Marysville team.

Tuesday night at Colfax, the Bruins did something they hadn’t done in an even longer stretch.

With a hard-fought 63-58 win over the Falcons, Bear River put together back-to-back league wins for the first time since January of 2012.

The Falcons came into Tuesday’s game intent on shutting down the Bruins’ potent 3-point shooting accuracy, and for the most part they did. Five days after the Bruins connected on 13 3-pointers in a win over Marysville, Colfax limited Bear River to just one trey and held Bruins scoring leader Justin Powell to just four points.

However, the fine defensive showing by Colfax went for naught.

With Adam Malik connecting for 23 points and Brekyn Vasquez adding 18 more, the Bruins still had enough punch to squeeze out the five-point Pioneer Valley League verdict in Pucci Pavilion.

“We battled pretty well but we just threw the ball away a bit too much,” said Colfax coach Terry O’Keefe. “Those turnovers came back and haunted us.”

Colfax (6-11, 0-3) was playing its first game without 6-foot-8-inch two-time All-PVL senior center Max Wolff, who is out for the season after suffering a fractured wrist in last Thursday game with Center.

“We’re still getting used to playing without Max,” said O’Keefe. “I thought the guys did a good job tonight.”

Colfax and the Bruins battled back and forth through the first half. The Falcons led 13-11 after a quarter and stretched the lead to 29-19 in the second quarter. However, Bear River closed the half with an 10-2 run to trail just 30-29 at halftime.

The Bruins (11-8, 2-1) then used strong play from Malik, Brad Smith and Caleb Lowry to forge a lead into the third quarter that they didn’t relinquish.

After trailing by as many as 12 points, the Falcons battled back gamely in the fourth quarter and trimmed the Bruins’ lead to 59-55 with 1:05 to play before running out of gas.

Colfax senior Jake Green, who in football last season caused the Bruins havoc on both sides of the ball, had a career varsity night for the falcons as he scored 25 points. Michael La Vigne with four treys added 14 markers while Max Koenig added nine.

In other PVL games Tuesday, Center took over sole possession of the PVL lead with a 60-55 win over Foothill and Marysville trimmed Lindhurst, 67-50. Colfax plays at Lindhurst Thursday while Bear River hosts Center.

In the JV game, Benton Stocks tallied 25 points to lead the Falcons to a 45-28 win. The Falcons also won the frosh game, 60-40, as Noah Souza scored 17 points, Zack Yang added 11 and Joe Sinor scored 10.