Falcons push way into Div. IV semifinals

Colfax tops West Campus, 66-57; Liberty Ranch next
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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COLFAX - All season long the Colfax Falcons’ boys basketball team has had a penchant for coming up with the big basket, the key rebound or the important steal.

Friday night here with a berth in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV Final Four on the line, the Falcons were up to their old tricks.

Getting a host of key performances from a slew of different players, the No. 1 seeded Falcons punched their ticket to Tokay High in Lodi and a berth in next Wednesday’s semi-finals by fending off West Campus’ upset-minded Warriors, 66-57.

In a highly-entertaining game played at a break-neck pace, the Falcons used a clutch 16-7 run over a three minute stretch midway through the fourth quarter as the difference in the contest.

“We had some players step up in the fourth quarter for us,” said Colfax coach Mike O’Connell. “It was a tough, playoff type game tonight. A lot of intensity.”

The win for Colfax, now 24-5 on the season, moves the Falcons into Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m semi-final game at Tokay against No. 4 seed Liberty Ranch of Galt, 21-8. The Hawks, making their first ever post season basketball appearance this season, defeated No. 5 seed Mesa Verde, 72-49, Friday night.

In the other Div. IV semi-final games played on Friday, No. 2 seed Summerville held off Encina, 72-69, while Riverbank, the No. 3 seed, topped No. 6 seed Bret Harte, 88-65. Summerville will play Riverbank Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Tokay with the winner meeting the Colfax-Liberty Ranch winner Saturday  at 3 p.m at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento for the Div. IV championship.

For Colfax, the Falcons held leads of 18-14 and 32-29 at the first two quarter stops. The Falcons then went into the fourth quarter with a 49-41 lead but after the Hawks began the final eight minutes with six of the stanzas first eight points, Colfax needed consecutive treys from backcourt mates Jordan Balser and Taylor Dorsey to stretch its lead to 57-49 at the 4:12 mark.

On West Campus’ next possession, Balser came up with a steal that led to his ensuing basket. That was followed by another hoop down low – after yet another  Balser steal -  by Matt Larson. By the time the ball ended up in the Falcons’ possession again after a Warriors miss, Colfax’s Will Buell drained a huge triple that made the count, 63-54 Falcons with just less than a minute to play.

Buell finished as the game’s high scorer as he poured in 24 points. The 6-7 senior wing also grabbed a season high 16 rebounds helping lead the Falcons’ control of the boards after center Larson picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter.

Colfax’s guards also played well as Balser tallied 16 points and Dorsey contributed 14 more. The Falcon duo combined for six three-pointers.

Larson finished with eight points while Cole Joyce netted four off the bench.

West Campus, which finishes the year 16-13,  was led by Conor Graber’s 15 points, 11 from C.J. Albro and 10 each by Tim Spiridovno and Kenneth Williams.