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Local Falcons still soaring

Colfax, Forest Lake Christian boys tip off CIF NorCal playoffs tonight
By: Mike Ray & Ray Hacke, Gold Country News Service
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One team of Falcons is staying home. The other is on the road. Both will face schools from the San Francisco Bay Peninsula. When the CIF NorCal boys basketball playoffs tip off today, Woodside Priory of Portola Valley will come to Lake of the Pines to face Sac-Joaquin Section champion Forest Lake Christian School in a Division V matchup. Colfax, meanwhile, will travel to the Palo Alto area to face Menlo School of Atherton in a Division IV game. Both games are slated for 7 p.m. Woodside Priory (24-5) is a team that makes up in size what it lacks in experience. The Panthers have just three seniors on their roster, one of whom is 7-foot-2 center Greg Somogyi, a Hungarian exchange student. The others are 6-2 forwards Rian Draeger and Joe Wilhite. Somogyi isn't the only player who gives the Panthers a size advantage, however. Woodside Priory has just two players who stand less than six feet tall. Forest Lake Christian (22-9) has four players with scoring averages in double figures. Senior guard Andrew Ritchart and his brother Josh, a sophomore center, each average more than 15 points and seven rebounds per game for the Falcons. Senior guards Ben Sparling and Austin Maynard each average more than 12 points and close to four assists per contest. The FLC-Woodside Priory winner will go on to face the winner of Tuesday's Branson-Tulelake matchup on Thursday. Colfax (27-3), meanwhile, hopes history will be on its side when it faces the Central Caost Section champion Knights (23-7). In 1999, Colfax was a five seed when it upended No. 4 seed Sutter in a first round NorCal game played at Yuba College. In their last road regional playoff game in 2004, Colfax lost in the semi-final round at St. Joseph's of Alameda. It's tough, but we've won the road in the NorCals before, Colfax coach Ron Pucci said. Menlo has a good team, though. They are disciplined and play very good defense. Menlo is coached by Kris Weems, a starting guard on Stanford University's 1998 Final Four team. The Knights are allowing just 43 points a game on defense. Will Tashman, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, is one of the Knights' leading scorers. Max Frye, a 6-3 senior, and fellow guard Jerry Rice Jr., the son of the legendary 49ers and Raiders receiver, are also in the offensive mix. The winner of the Colfax-Menlo game will play the winner of today's contest between No. 1 seed St. Mary's of Berkley and Yreka on Thursday.