Plenty still at stake for Falcons, Bruins Friday night

PVL matchup has title, playoff implications
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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Other than a rivalry game, at first glance, Friday’s Colfax-Bear River Pioneer Valley League boys basketball contest may look like your run-of-the-mill late season match-up that doesn’t carry enough punch to be called a showdown.

But guess again.

When the Falcons (20-5, 6-2) and Bruins (14-10, 1-7) collide Friday at 7 p.m. in the Falcon gym, there is indeed plenty at stake for both the hosts and visiting Bruins.

“We’re expecting another tough game Friday,” said Colfax coach Mike O’Connell about his team’s third meeting of the season with the Bruins. “In this league every game is a battle.”

For Colfax, a 49-46 winner at Center Wednesday, the Falcons are hoping to keep pace at the top of the PVL leader board as a win over the Bruins could set the hosts up with a possible title shot next Tuesday when league-leading Lincoln (7-1) calls on Colfax.

A win would also solidify the Falcons current No. 1 ranking in the boys Div. IV Power Ratings for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs which will open with out-bracket games next week.

On the other side of the ledger, one of the teams hoping to get a shot at the playoffs are the Bruins who just need one more win, either Friday at Colfax or Tuesday at Center, to become playoff eligible by reaching the 15-win level.

“We’re close, we just need to get over the hump,” said Bear River coach Duwaine Ganskie whose Bruins dropped a 58-55 overtime game to Placer on Wednesday. “This league is just so darn tough this year.”

If Bear River can qualify for the playoffs, there is a lot of sentiment around the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section that the Bruins, because of scoring ace Justin Beskeen and their overall strength of schedule, would be able to do some damage at the Div. IV level.

“There are a lot of Div. IV teams in the section that don’t want to see Bear River in the first round,” said CIF Sac-Joaquin Section assistant commissioner John Williams. “If they get in, they’re not your typical No. 14 or No. 15 seed.”

As of Thursday, the status of two injured Colfax starters – Paul Ramseth and Matt Larson – was unknown. Ramseth was injured in the Placer game while Larson went down in the second half of the Center game.

In other PVL action of Friday, Lincoln risks its PVL leading mark at Placer (5-3) while Foothill (4-4) visits Center (2-6).