Falcons notch first win over CBS in postseason

By: Mike Ray
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The Colfax and Christian Brothers boys basketball programs have a longtime playoff history between them as the two schools “ both nicknamed Falcons “ go back nearly a decade in locking up in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section post season. However, prior to last Wednesday's CIF semi-final battle between the two schools at Tokay High in Lodi, the Sacramento-based Falcons had held the upper hand in the post season over the Falcons from the foothills. In 1999, CBS bested Colfax twice, once in the section title game and again in the Div. IV Nor Cal finals. Two years later in 2001, CBS again topped Colfax in a first round playoff game. Colfax had returned the favor somewhat last season when they handed CBS a 76-72 setback in a Hoops for the Hungry game but the absence of a post season win over CBS was still missing from Colfax's resume. However, last Wednesday, the Colfax Falcons took care of that void. With its season hanging in the balance, Colfax coach Ron Pucci dusted off an old playbook to help punch the team's ticket to Arco Arena. Spurred on by the use of a zone defense that helped neutralize Christian Brothers' speed and quickness, the No. 1 seeded Falcons pulled away in the fourth quarter to grind out a 66-49 over their Sacramento foes and in the process earn their third straight trip to Arco and the Div. IV title game. That we're going back to Arco is a tribute to these kids, said Pucci following the win. They have battled all season long and tonight was no different. Everyone contributed. It was a very nice team win. For Colfax, the Falcons from the Sierra Valley Conference were all that they were advertised. Using their pressure defense, Christian Brothers forced Colfax into 11 first half turnovers and after trailing 21-10 early on in the second quarter scratched back behind guards Sterling Arteberry and Jason Henderson to trail just 26-25 at the halftime break. The two teams then exchanged the lead four times until Martin Schubert's two free tosses knotted the score at 31-31 at the 5:18 mark of the third quarter. But from there, the Falcons were able to separate themselves from Christian Brothers with their zone alignment paying dividends. They didn't attack the zone like they do against the man-to-man, said Pucci. I thought our zone press also slowed them down a bit. With Colfax coming up with three straight defensive stops, the Falcons used a basket inside by Kyle Fowler, a pair of steals and ensuing scores by Scott Krizman and an offensive rebound and follow by Schubert as the third quarter buzzer sounded to take a 44-37 lead. In the fourth quarter, a Krizman basket, two free tosses by Joel Iventosch and a lean-in lay up by Jeff Divine boosted Colfax into a 50-41 lead with 5:55 to go. But with Christian Brothers having problems solving the Colfax zone, the issue was cemented when the Sacramento squad went a span of 4:40 without scoring from the field. Colfax then followed Krizman, who tallied 12 of Colfax's 22 fourth quarter points to put the game away as his three-point play with 2:52 to play put the Falcons in command 59-44. Krizman led all scorers with 28 points and in the process moved past Dean Abt as the Falcons' all-time leading career scorer. Krizman, who also came up with six steals in the game, has now totaled 1,438 points in his 92-game three-year varsity career. Abt scored 1,426 points in an 87-game pre-three-point basket career from 1976-78. Iventosch followed with 16 points for the Falcons while Joey Ballenger despite early foul trouble finished with eight points, Schubert and Divine followed with five each and Divine added four.