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Basketball Playoffs

Falcons, Hillmen last boys standing

Colfax hosts balanced West Campus; Placer challenges Sierra on road
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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The noose starts to get a little tighter Friday for the two remaining foothill area boys teams in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section basketball playoffs.

In Colfax, the Falcons will risk their No. 1 seed when they host No. 8 seed West Campus in a pairing of former Golden Empire League rivals.

Meanwhile, Placer, the No. 7 seed in Div. III, hits the road to play Sierra of Manteca, the No. 2 seed. Both games tip off at 7 p.m.

Here’s a look at Friday’s two games:

West Campus (16-12) at Colfax (23-5) -  Form held true in the Div. IV bracket as all eight of the top seeds emerged victorious in first round action. In West Campus, the Falcons will be facing a Warriors team that looks to be playing its best ball of the season right now.

The Warrriors will come to Colfax Friday riding a six-game winning streak which includes victories the last two weeks over Div. IV No. 5 seed Mesa Verde and Div. V No. 1 seed Capital Christian.

West Campus will throw a bevy of scoring balance at the Falcons in the form of 6-2 guard Conor Garber, 6-2 guard Devan Sawyerr and 6-3 wing Tim Spiridonov.

The trio combined for 50 of the Warriors points in Wednesday’s 73-63 first round playoff win over Escalon. In addition, sophomore Kenneth Williams came off the bench and added 13 more points.

“We scouted them and they look good on film,” said Colfax coach Mike O’Connell. “We’ll have our hands full.”

Friday’s Colfax-West Campus winner will move on to next Wednesday’s  semi-final round at Tokay High in Lodi. Friday’s other Div. IV games pair Mesa Verde traveling to Liberty Ranch, Riverbank hosting Bret Harte and Encina traveling to Summerville.

Placer (20-8) at Sierra (24-4) – Placer coach Mark Lee noted that Sierra should have probably been the No. 1 seed in Div. III and he may be right. On Wednesday in their playoff opener, the Timberwolves threw up a second quarter zero on Ceres and held a stunning 42-4 lead at halftime on their way to winning, 66-25.

Sierra, which has won 18 of its last 19 games, shared the Valley Oak League title with Weston Ranch. In Tuesday’s win, the Timberwolves hit on nine of 14 three-point attempts.

Sierra, which has good overall size, is led inside by 6-4 senior Justin Patton and 6-3 D’Ari Allen. The guards are Guillermo Nunez and Eric Melger. The Timberwolves are coached by Scott Thomason, the son of current Pacific head coach Bob Thomason.

In Friday’s other Div. III quarter-final round games, No. 1 Modesto Christian hosts Fairfield, No. 12 Rio Americano, a 66-60 winner over Lincoln, will play at Weston Ranch, and Casa Roble, the No. 3 seed, hosts Patterson.

Friday’s winners will advance to next Tuesday’s Div. III semi-finals set for Cosumnes River College.