Placer girls beat Colfax in PVL hoops opener

Matchup of local rivals draws huge, rowdy crowd
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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If the Sac-Joaquin Section is looking for a reason to reconsider its proposal to oust Placer out of the Pioneer Valley League, it should look no further than Wednesday night’s Lady Hillmen contest against the visiting Colfax Falcons.

A large contingent of fans from both communities sat on opposite sides of storied Earl Crabbe Gym and exchanged banter across the court, at times making as much noise as the Golden Hillmen Marching Band while watching a thrilling overtime bout between the Placer and Colfax girls basketball teams.

“It’s nice when I can hear their crowd and ours,” said Placer coach Tony Camillucci. 

Ari Jensen and Baylee Vanderdoes scored 11 points apiece for Placer and the Lady Hillmen were able to pull away in the extra session to record a 48-43 in a PVL opener.

“We went out and played our hardest,” Placer’s Raquel Quirarte said. “We knew that it was going to be tough from the beginning and that they’d come out fighting.”

Placer (16-2) fell behind 5-0 off the bat but rallied to take a 12-10 advantage at the end of one. The Lady Hillmen were up 19-18 at halftime and never led by more than six in what transpired to be a tightly-contested defensive battle.

Points were at a premium throughout the entire 36-minute clash of foothill rivals.

Reagan Lillie had a game-high 12 points and Amber Tobiaz and Lindsay Biles both added eight for Colfax (10-8), which trailed 27-21 late in the third quarter and had its shots at winning the ballgame down the stretch.

The showdown went into overtime tied at 39-39. Both teams’ crowds got even rowdier as the game went on, with the Hillmen side chanting “We can’t hear you!” and “This is our house!”

On Tuesday, the SJS made a proposal to send Placer to the Capital Athletic League with 2014 realignment looming, which would force Placer to compete in league games against non-local schools.

“When you don’t have neighborhood teams playing each other you may not get the same crowd (as Colfax vs. Placer),” Camillucci said. “... It was a great atmosphere here tonight.”

Quirarte said playing Colfax is one of the more fun games of the year since the Falcons are her team’s biggest rival. She also said the Lady Hillmen are looking forward to playing Bear River, another neighborhood rivalry that could be lost if Placer moves to the CAL. The Lady Hillmen return to the court Friday at 7 p.m. when they visit Center (8-8).

Colfax gets a chance to record its first league win Friday when it travels to Foothill (6-7) for a 7 p.m. matchup. 


Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel