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Falcons face solid Del Oro team at Kendall Arnett

By: Mike Ray
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Mike O’Connell is in his first season as Colfax High’s head boys basketball coach. But he’s been around area hoops long enough to know that like death and taxes, the Falcons can always expect a tough first round draw when it comes to the Kendall Arnett Tournament at Placer High in Auburn. On Monday night, Colfax, which has competed in the Arnett since 1969, found themselves in their opening round of the 67th tournament opposite a solid Del Oro team that had been flexing its muscles since the addition of three key starters following an extended Golden Eagles football season. About midway through the first quarter when the Falcons trailed 9-3, Colfax’s easy 80-59 win over a gridder-less Del Oro squad back on Nov. 30 in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section’s no-count Foundation Game was long forgotten. “Like they should, their football players give them more physicality and depth,” said O’Connell after his Falcons had their five-game winning streak stopped in a 70-59 loss to the Golden Eagles. “I thought we did a good job defensively on Butterfield, but he makes them really tough on the boards.” Colfax rallied from its early deficit to lead 16-14 at the end of a quarter, but some uncanny outside shooting helped put Del Oro’s dribble-drive offense in-motion and jump start the Loomis hoopsters into the lead. Only a desperation off-balance 30-footer by Austin Oberg that beat the first half buzzer enabled the Falcons to trail just 40-33 at halftime. Colfax, behind strong efforts from Oberg and senior forward Justin Witt tried to hang with the Golden Eagles through the early stages of the third canto, but the Falcons suffered too many turnovers trying to solve Del Oro’s 1-2-2 zone defensive alignment. “We got our hands on a lot of loose balls and caused a lot of deflections,” said Del Oro coach Geoff Broyles. “That led to a lot of points in transition for us,” Colfax, which trailed 55-43 at the end of three quarters, got Del Oro’s lead down to seven points with less than three minutes to play, but the Golden Eagles, who were an uncanny 17 of 21 from the foul stripe, then sealed the win. Witt finished with 25 big points for the Falcons, which included four baskets from beyond the arc. Oberg also had four treys among his 14 points. Ryan Salmonson added eight points while Chase Mosier scored six, Ben Buell four and Kyle Greer a pair. Aaron Hendricks led Del Oro with 21 points. He was followed by Spencer Butterfield with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Nick Lewis was also a thron against the Falcons with four treys for 12 points.