Falcons go big for title defense

Colfax looks to utilize its size inside as young team sets out to create its own winning identity
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Mike O’Connell doesn’t have a specific formula to how his Colfax High boys basketball team is winning games this season. But the young Falcons have scratched out a 4-2 record and despite being decimated by graduation last spring, Colfax is looking like it could play well into March once again. “We only have two seniors, so they’re learning how to play at the varsity level as we go,” O’Connell said. “We’re farther along than I thought we’d be at this point. We’re not doing anything flashy, we’re basically winning games by out-hustling teams and getting all those 50/50 balls.” Senior Luke Beninga is one of the few Falcons who saw playing time last year when Colfax claimed the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship. The 6-2 guard is a tough defender, a slick ball handler and great finisher on the drive. Juniors Matt Larson and Will Buell give the Falcons great size. Both are 6-6 post players. Larson does most of his damage in the paint while Buell can shot from the perimeter and handle the ball well for his size. Junior Paul Ramseth is a glue player for Colfax, offering terrific defense and excellent fundamentals on the offensive side. “He does the little things that don’t get stats,” O’Connell said of Ramseth. Junior guard Taylor Dorsey is the Falcons’ long-range shooting threat. The bench is deep, and gives Colfax even more size on the inside. Senior Brett Fowler, coming off an all-Pioneer Valley League football campaign, is a tough matchup at 6-3, 230. Wade Lewis is a 6-5 junior who also contributes as a substitute. O’Connell said the Falcons won’t be running past teams this season. Instead, they’ll use their inside strength to attack the opposition. “We’re not as much of a transition team,” O’Connell said. “We’re try to get into sets, be methodical and hopefully get the right guy the right shot at the right time.” The Falcons’ most impressive performance to date came in its latest game. They stormed back from a seven-point deficit to beat Palma on Saturday in Monterey. The Falcons face Sutter tonight before competing in the Anderson Invitational, beginning Thursday. Colfax will be back at the Kendall Arnett Tournament at Placer later this month. The Falcons won their first Kendall title last season. As for defending the section title, O’Connell said he hasn’t put those kind of expectations on his young group. “”We know we have a tradition, and that’s working hard, getting on the floor for loose balls,” O’Connell said. “We don’t try to compare to other teams. Each team has its own makeup. We just focus on the next game and see how it comes out.”