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Falcons zone out in PVL rout

Colfax holds undersized Bear River to three baskets over final two quarters
By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
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COLFAX — At 6-foot-9, Ryan Salmonson is a tough assignment on any basketball court. Bear River High couldn’t figure out what to do about the Colfax center on either end of the floor Thursday night and the Falcons dominated the second half of a 58-34 Pioneer Valley League win. Salmonson scored a game-high 16 and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line, helping Colfax rebound from its first league loss earlier this week. “We just didn’t execute really well on Tuesday, but we bounced right back tonight,” head coach Mike O’Connell said. “It was a good win. We’re pretty focused right now.” The undersized Bruins (11-9, 2-5 PVL) were stellar from beyond the arc early, sinking three 3-pointers in a first quarter that saw the lead change four times. Johnny Cassar’s trey with 2:30 left in the half cut the Colfax lead to 21-20 before the Bruins went cold. “They’re definitely a 3-point team,” Salmonson said of Bear River. “They’re a good shooting team, but they don’t have much size. Our defense was basically just keeping them out on the perimeter.” The Falcons (18-4, 6-1 PVL) scored the final six points of the second quarter and the first seven of the third quarter to turn it into a rout. The Bruins had only three second-half baskets. “They’re definitely the best defensive league team in the league when you combine it with their size,” Bear River head coach Duwaine Ganskie said. “There are a lot of teams with good defense, but they play good defense and they have size. It’s a good combination. You’d better have some guys who are ready to somehow still attack the middle and get to the rim, and we just didn’t do that.” Colfax used an alert zone defense to keep the Bruins from finding open outside looks. “We did a really good job of rotating and keeping our hands up,” O’Connell said. “They tried to make it a perimeter-oriented game, and that gave us control of the boards. Ryan is 6-9 and the rest of our guys are 6-2 to 6-4, so even if somebody switches it’s no big deal. It’s a nice advantage to have.” Bear River was frustrated on the other end, too. When the Bruins focused their defensive energy on Salmonson, his Colfax cohorts were ready to knock down open jumpers. “With me being down in the post they put more guys on me, so it opens up my teammates,” Salmon said. “It helps them a lot.” Justin Witt scored 12, Chase Mosier had six points and Joey Jergo and Austin Oberg added five points apiece. Zach Welz led Bear River with 12 points. Sean Smith scored nine on three 3-pointers and Cassar finished with seven points.