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Falcons Turn Tables On Cougars

60-48 Win Keeps Playoff Berth Within Reach For Colfax Boys
By: Mike Ray Colfax Record Sports Editor
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COLFAX - It’s been quite some time since a Colfax High boys basketball team has entered the month of February carrying concerns over just qualifying for a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth. In recent seasons, the Falcons have been locked and loaded for strong season finishes which in three of the last four years has earned Colfax squads the No. 1 seed in the section’s Div. IV tournament. However, this season, the shoe is on the other foot. “At this time of the season any win is big and right now we’re trying to get has many as we can,” said Colfax coach Ron Pucci whose Falcons picked up a key Pioneer Valley League victory via Friday’s 60-48 decision over visiting El Dorado. The Colfax victory carried two-fold importance. First, the win avenged a tough road setback the Falcons suffered to the Cougars last month in Placerville. Secondly, and more importantly, the win most likely allowed the Falcons to “hold serve” in their current Div. IV power ratings No. 13 position. The ratings, which will seed the top 16 teams for the CIF tournament, will be updated on Monday. “Our league strength is one of the higher ones in division four so every league win is huge,” said Pucci. “I thought overall we did a good job tonight.” The Falcons, who have qualified for the post season every season since 1990, used outstanding defensive schemes against El Dorado’s top offensive threats to shackle the Cougars. In the two teams’ first meeting, a 60-57 win by the Cougars, the Falcons struggled in containing forward Justin Gavard who scored 17 points and center Matt Winterer who added 15. But on Friday with a little more defensive attention focused on the pair, Colfax’s switching defenses limited Gavard to just nine points and Winterer to seven. “That was a big key for us,” said Pucci. “We knew we had to slow those two down to have a shot.” Colfax, despite a myriad of foul problems that saw starter Spencer Lewis exit in the third quarter and reserve Kyle Greer early in the fourth, followed steady play from its guard combination of Jeff Divine and Austin Oberg to spark the win. Divine tallied a game-high 17 points and used his speed and quickness to give the Cougars fits on the defensive end of the court coming up with several steals and forcing the visitors into numerous ball handling errors. The 5-9 Colfax senior scored the Falcons last four points of the first half to help the hosts go into the locker room with a 30-17 bulge at the break. In the third quarter, offensive put-backs by Justin Witt and Ethan Guiles followed by a 10-footer from Joey Jergo boosted the Falcons into their biggest lead of the evening at 36-21. But the Cougars kept things interesting for the remainder of the second half. Led by Garrett Keith’s scoring, the visitors were within 43-38 with 5:09 to play before Divine converted a length of the court drive and then followed with an ensuing five-footer off of an out-of-bounds play. The Falcons then put the game away with five points from Jergo being sandwiched around a pair of Oberg free tosses which made the score 54-40 with 2:59 to go. Oberg, only a sophomore, followed Divine in the scoring column with 12 points while Jergo added 10, Guiles finished with eight and Lewis with six. Lewis also added nine rebounds in limited minutes for the winners. Keith paced El Dorado with 13. Colfax, now 4-5 in PVL games and 14-10 overall, plays at Mesa Verde next Wednesday. Colfax JV 55 El Dorado 45 – The Falcons improved to 7-2 in Pioneer Valley League play and 16-5 overall with the win. Chase Mosier’s 21 points, 17 by Elliott Forsman and eight from Tom Baldoni sparked the Falcons. Colfax Frosh 71 El Dorado 44 – Luke Beniga’s 27 point outburst fueled the Falcons. Austin Young followed with eight, Brett Fowler with seven and Derek Ikeda and Roger Lillie added six each.