Colfax boys lose a heartbreaker to Liberty Ranch at Tokay

Falcons still qualify for NorCals
By: Mike Ray / Gold Country News Service
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LODI - The streak is over. Finished. Done. Caput.

After nine straight winning trips to Tokay High dating back to 1995 to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section semifinal round, the Colfax Falcons' basketball team's magic on the hardwood here in Lodi ran out of fantastic finishes.

In a game in which the Falcons never led in regulation, Colfax was outscored in overtime, 15-10 by Liberty Ranch, and ended up falling 64-59 in a contest that had more highs and lows than a roller coaster ride. It was Colfax's first ever loss at Tokay in 10 visits.

"This is what playoff basketball is all about," said Colfax coach Mike O'Connell following the hard fought contest. "We looked out of it a couple of times but the kids came back. We had two great looks to win and tie it again but they wouldn't stay down. I'm proud of the kids' effort though. They played hard."

Colfax, now 24-6 on the season, will wait until the seeding meeting of Sunday's CIF Northern California Regional committee to see where its opening-round game will be played next week. Liberty Ranch, meanwhile, will meet the winner of Wednesday's late semifinal between Summerville and Riverbank on Saturday at Sleep Train Arena at 3 p.m. for the Div. IV championship.

For the most part, the difference in the Colfax-Liberty Ranch game was the Falcons having no answer for the red hot scoring duo of Mike Meserole and DeAndre Stallings.
Meserole pumped in 30 points — 15 in the first half — and seven in the critical overtime period.

Stallings, just a sophomore, meanwhile connected on a career-best five treys and finished with 20 points.

The Falcons played catch-up all evening long as they trailed 13-10 after a quarter, 24-22 at halftime and 33-29 at the end of three periods.

However, in an up tempo fourth quarter, the Falcons caught fire behind the inside play of Matt Larson and Michael Wilson's two three-pointers. Larson's field goal at the 21 second mark tied the game at 49-49 but after the Hawks turned the ball over on a muffed rebound under the Colfax basket, Taylor Dorsey's three-pointer for the win went in and out as time expired in regulation.

Colfax finally took its first lead of the night at 54-53 on a basket by Larson in overtime but Meserole answered with five straight points and Stallings added a trey for a 61-56 lead. Colfax's Will Buell then brought the Falcons back with a three-point play of his own but his long three-point attempt with Colfax trailing 62-59 with 16 seconds went in the hoop and spun out to end Colfax's chances.

Both Buell and Larson finished with 16 points each for Colfax while Jordan Balser added 11 and played a fine floor game.

"It was a tough loss but we've got some basketball left," O'Connell said. "We'll get back to work tomorrow."