Depth helps Falcon boys get PVL title shot

Colfax handles Bear River, hosts Lincoln Tuesday with crown at stake
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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COLFAX – The Colfax Falcons’ boys basketball team proved here Friday night that there’s no substitute for depth and in the process has given itself a shot at a Pioneer Valley League championship.

With two starters watching from the sidelines injured in street clothes, the Falcons turned to several different sources to pick up slack on offense and provide energy on defense in a 62-56 PVL win over Bear River.

In a game where the Falcons led at one point in the third quarter, 49-31, Colfax was able to withstand a 28-point scoring night by the Bruins’ Justin Beskeen to improve to 21-4 on the season

“I thought we had several different guys really step up for us tonight,” said Colfax coach Mike O’Connell after watching his Falcons push their PVL record to 7-2. “Wade (Lewis) and Kevin (Zachman) really did a good job filling in for Matt (Larson). It was a good team win for us.”

Even better for Colfax is that the Falcons’ win, coupled with Placer’s heart-stopping, 48-47, victory over Lincoln, also 7-2, sets up a showdown Tuesday night in Colfax between the Falcons and Zebras to decide the PVL championship.

Colfax will be trying to avenge a 57-46 loss suffered at the hands of the Zebras back on Jan. 25 in Lincoln. In that game, the Zebras put four players in double figure scoring and seemed to have game plan that caught the Falcons off-guard.

“Lincoln has a very good, solid team,” said O’Connell. “They’re playing well right now. We definitely have a challenge in front of us.”

On Friday, the Falcons’ challenge was playing without 6-6 senior pivot Matt Larson, who was injured in the Center game Wednesday, and forward Paul Ramseth who was injured in the Placer game a week ago and may be lost for the season.

In place of Larson, who is Colfax’s second leading scorer and top rebounder, O’Connell inserted 6’6” senior Wade Lewis and 6’5” junior Kevin Zachman. Between them, the pair teamed to score 14 points, grab nine rebounds and block three shots.

O’Connell also used Cole Joyce, Michael Wilson and Ryan Glazner for minutes in the first half when Colfax limited Beskeen to just nine points as the Falcons went into the locker room at halftime leading 26-17.

But it was the third quarter when the Falcons separated from the Bruins as two field goals by Lewis, treys by Taylor Dorsey and Jordan Balser and five straight points by Will Buell keyed a 19-6 Colfax run that made the score, 45-23.

Beskeen and Charlie Espinoza then teamed to score Bear River’s final 10 points of the third stanza as the Bruins trailed 49-33 but Buell answered by scoring 10 of the Falcons’ first eleven points to start the fourth quarter to keep the contest out of reach.

Buell finished with 19 points for the Falcons while Balser and Dorsey teamed for 10 each. Lewis, Zachman and Dave Campbell all finished with seven apiece.

Beskeen, who is nearing the 1,300th point mark in a standout three-year varsity career for the Bruins, was followed in the scoring column by Braden Duncan with eight and Espinoza with seven.

Bear River, 14-11 overall and 1-8 in the PVL, needs to win at Center on Tuesday to reach the 15-win level and qualify for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Bear River JV 47 Colfax 45 – The Bruins JVs, who lost to Colfax last month on a last second shot, returned the favor Friday by using a basket by Brandon Murphy with 2.7 seconds to play as the difference. Murphy and Josh Davis both led the Bruins with 13 points each.