Falcons-Zebras Meet Tuesday To Decide PVL

Hardwood rivals have title history dating back 50 years
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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It’s been awhile, but the Colfax Falcons and Lincoln Zebras have done this basketball championship showdown thing before. But what would you expect from two teams that have been battling on the hardwood for the past fifty years.

When Colfax hosts Lincoln Tuesday night in Falcon Gym with the Pioneer Valley League boys championship on the line, it will mark the first time since 2004 that the Falcons and Zebras have hooked up on the hardwood this late in the season with a title at stake.

For history buffs, in the 1971 season the two schools shared the Pioneer League crown while way back in 1960 the Falcons and Zebras were tri-champs with Del Oro in what was then called the Skyline Conference.

In 1975, the Falcons and Zebras hooked-up in a packed house in Colfax’s old gym in the season finale with the Gary Edlund-Daryl East led Falcons defeating the Zebras, 56-51, to wrap up the school’s first “outright” league hoops championship and earn a berth in the CIF North Section playoffs. The point guard of that Falcons’ team was a junior by the name of Mike O’Connell, Colfax’s current varsity coach.

Some 29 years later in 2004, the Falcons and Zebras provided some more history. In that season, Lincoln and Colfax split their regular season meetings. It included an 88-81 Zebras win in overtime at Colfax in which Lincoln had to overcome a 42-point school record scoring spree by the Falcons’ Chris Pulver.

But later in that 2004 season, the Falcons extracted a bit of revenge by routing the Zebras, 63-25 at Arco Arena to capture the school’s first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. IV crown. Strangely enough, O’Connell was coaching Lincoln that season.

These days the Falcons are still in Div. IV while Lincoln because of an enrollment boost is now Div. III. While both schools are headed to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs which begin Friday with “out-bracket” games, the two squads have this little matter Tuesday of deciding the PVL crown.

Both teams will take identical, 7-2 records with them into Tuesday’s 7 p.m. game. Overall on the season Colfax is 21-5 while the Zebras are 20-6 after dropping a 48-47 nail biter at Placer last Friday night.

In the two teams’ first meeting last month at Lincoln, the Zebras played a near flawless game placing four players in double figure scoring on their way to a 57-46 win.

“We’ll definitely have to play better than we did down there,” said O’Connell. “Lincoln has done a good job this season. It should be a good match-up.”

The Falcons will go into the game with a question mark at the center position as Matt Larson, who was injured last Wednesday in the Center game, was listed by O’Connell over the weekend as “day by day.”

In other final PVL games on Tuesday, Placer (19-7) will try an reach the 20-win plateau when the Hillmen visit Foothill. Placer's last 20-win season came in 2007 when the Konner Veteto-Charles Broadhead led Hillmen went 20-8. Elsewhere, Bear River plays at Center with a chance to reach the 15-win level and qualify for the Div. IV playoffs.


PVL Boys

                      W       L

Colfax           7       2

Lincoln         7       2

Placer           6       3

Foothill         5        4

B. River        1        8

Center          1       8