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Colfax comes up short at buzzer against Del Campo at Kendall Arnett opener

By: Mike Ray / Gold Country News Service
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The Colfax Falcons boys basketball team has made it a habit this preseason of knocking off some big-time opponents. And, if not for some unfriendly rims at the south end of Placer’s Earl Crabbe Gym, they might have added another big scalp to their growing list in Thursday night’s opening round of the Kendall Arnett Tournament.
In an entertaining up-and-down game that wasn’t decided until the final buzzer sounded, the Falcons had no answer in the fourth quarter for Del Campo’s Vasilije Saraba and ended up dropping an exciting 70-67 contest to the defending Arnett champion Cougars.
Saraba, a 6-4 junior wing with a nice shooting touch both inside and out, tallied 14 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth stanza to help the Cougars wipe out what had been a 10-point Colfax advantage just seconds into the final eight minutes.
 “We got the looks that we wanted at the end but they just didn’t go down,”  said Colfax coach Mike O’Connell. “For the most part we played a good game. We just made a few mistakes in the late going that hurt us.”
Colfax, now 11-3 on the season, looked like they were headed to their seventh straight win when Will Buell scored on an out-of-bounds play to start the fourth quarter that put the Falcons up by a 54-44 count.
But after Buell’s hoop, the Falcons went scoreless from the floor for the next two minutes while seven straight points by Saraba helped fuel a Del Campo run that drew the Cougars even at 54-54 with 6:07 to play.
From there the lead changed hands or was tied seven times before Del Campo’s Matt Zavora connected on a hoop at the 2:50 mark to give the Cougars a 62-60 lead.
Del Campo expanded its margin to 65-60 with 1:35 to go and seemed home free but the Falcons made it interesting when a put back by Matt Larson pulled the Falcons back to within two. Saraba then hit two of three free throws to push the Cougars back up on top 68-64 with 26 seconds to play.
But Buell gave Colfax life when he missed a trey that went in and out but he was fouled on the play and canned all three free tosses to make it 68-67 Del Campo with just 18.7 remaining.
Colfax fouled Saraba again and he obliged the Falcons by making just one out of two shots but Colfax couldn’t capitalize when junior guard Jordan Balser, coming off a screen on a well-designed play, had his trey for the lead go seemingly half-way down before popping out.
Again the Falcons fouled and Semir Cahtarevic hit one of two free tosses but the Falcons’ Taylor Dorsey’s good look from three-point land as the final buzzer went off was yet another in and out what might have been.
Cahtarevic followed Saraba in the scoring column for Del Campo (10-3) with 15 points while Modesta Britten added 13 including eight in the last quarter.
Colfax, which was 13 of 16 from the foul stripe on the night, was paced by Buell with 22 points and Larson with 20. Dorsey and Dave Campbell added eight points each while Balser netted seven.
The Falcons will try and rebound when they meet Bear River in a 3:30 p.m. consolation game that will match a pair of Pioneer Valley League foes. 
Del Campo will take on Woodcreek in a 6:30 p.m. winner’s bracket contest.