Big second half fuels Colfax win

By: Mike Ray Gold Country News Service
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COLFAX — There’s a lot of prep basketball observers who might think that the Colfax Falcons’ chances in this year’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV playoffs hinge on how far high scoring swingman Chase Mosier can take them. But Monday night here in a rescheduled second round playoff game that was postponed by snow from last Friday, the Falcons showed that they have a lot more in their tank than might meet the eye. Parlaying a stingy zone defense that limited No. 6 seed Ripon to just three second half field goals and receiving a big spark off the bench from senior Elliott Forsman and JV call-up Matt Larson, the No. 3 seeded Falcons broke open a tight game over the final 16 minutes and went on to notch a 58-36 win over the visiting Indians. The victory, which lifted Colfax’s season record to 20-9, vaults the Falcons into Wednesday’s semi-final round at Tokay High in Lodi where Colfax will play No. 2 seed Summerville at 5:30 p.m. Summerville, in another Monday playoff game that was rescheduled from Friday, squeaked past Capital Christian, 59-58. In the other semi-final Wednesday, No. 1 seed Modesto Christian takes on No. 4 seed Amador. Wednesday’s semi-final winners will then play for the section Div. IV championship at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento on Saturday with tip-off set for 3 p.m. In Monday’s contest, Mosier was his usual high-scoring self in the opening minutes of the fray as he tallied 13 of Colfax’s first 18 points. Colfax led 12-11 after a quarter and then after some uneven play on both ends of the floor in the second stanza took a precarious 21-20 lead into the halftime break. But when starting center Ben Buell collected his fourth foul of the game just a minute into the third quarter, Colfax coach Mike O’Connell went to a zone defense and inserted Larson and Forsman into the line-up. Using some crafty moves in the paint, Larson, a 6-6 sophomore who helped lead Colfax’s JVs to this season’s Pioneer Valley League championship, scored all 18 of his game high points total in the second half. Eight of his markers came in a stretch where Colfax went from being up by two points, 23-21, to 41-27 when the third period horn sounded. Forsman also played a pivotal role in the Falcon win as he chipped in with eight more key points — all in the second half — including a trey and a driving lay-up in the third quarter when the Falcons outscored the Indians, 21-7. “Elliott really gave us some energy off the bench with those steals and points he came up with,” said O’Connell. “And what Matt did was huge. For a sophomore to come into a playoff game like that and play as solid as he did was real special.” Mosier went scoreless from the floor in the second half and finished with 15 points but the Colfax senior helped steady the Falcons ship with his ball handling against Ripon’s full court pressure along with grabbing nine rebounds and handing out four assists. Austin Oberg also chipped in with nine points and played a good all-around floor game. The scoring was competed for Colfax by Robert O’Connell with four points, Buell with three and Austin Brown with a pair. “I thought our zone defense really frustrated Ripon in the second half,” said Mike O’Connell. “They really struggled with it. Colfax’s win also vaulted the Falcons into the CIF Nor Cal Regional Tournament which will begin at home sites on Tuesday, March 8.