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Looking at why it took Colfax so long to win tourney

Sports Chatter
By: Mike Ray, Colfax Record Sports Editor
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Cleaning up tidbits from the recent Kendall Arnett Tournament ….. If there’s one thing that’s been a “lock” in the area sports scene over the last 40 years it’s that the San Francisco Giants weren’t going to win the World Series and the Colfax Falcons’ boys basketball team wasn’t going to win the Kendall Arnett Tournament. So to have both the Giants and Falcons beat long odds and notch those elusive accomplishments within two months of each other, well for this corner anyway, it was like wishing for a bicycle at Christmas and receiving a car. That this year’s Falcons’ boys team brought the Arnett crown up I-80 for the first time is a testimony to coach Mike O’Connell’s hoopsters who had to weather two tough preliminary round wins over Nevada Union and Del Campo and then find a way to get past a scrappy San Juan team that just wouldn’t go away in the finals. For area hoop historians, there’s been several reasons that it took the Falcons so long to bag a Arnett crown. First, the Colfax High boys program has historically been the smallest school enrollment-wise in the Arnett. Secondly, in the early years anyway (i.e. 1970, 1971, 1975, 1978, 1980 and 1981), the Falcons had league championship caliber teams but either weren’t invited to the Arnett or declined the invitation. Thirdly, the Falcons always could count on having the “un-luck” of the Arnett draw. For years, the Falcons, regardless of the competitiveness of their squad, always seemed, no did, draw the tougher half of the Arnett bracket. It started in Colfax’s first visit to the Arnett in 1969 when coach Skip Houser’s Falcons drew Jefferson of Daly City in the opening round. Jefferson went on to defeat Tom Barry’s SFL winning Hillmen, 51-48, that year in the finals. More recently, some superb Colfax squads usually found themselves up against a Del Oro, Nevada Union, Folsom or Granite Bay in the opening rounds. Although Colfax had three squads reach the Arnett finals (1975, 1986, 1994) only to fall, the Falcons’ biggest wins that come to memory in the tourney included a buzzer-beating 45-footer by Todd Whittington that beat Placer in the 1995 third place game; a first round win by the Falcons over the Hillmen in the 1991 tournament and wins over highly-touted Folsom and Yuba City squads in 1997 and 1998. More Arnett Even Mike Maynard’s “So You Think You’re a Local” can’t top this one: Last week’s Kendall Arnett Tournament was the 69th edition and Colfax’s Falcons have played in the tournament in close to 35 of those events starting in 1969, on and off in the 1970s and then again starting in 1982 until the present. If I have my calculations right, there’s been six families that have had father-son combos play in the event varsity for the Falcons. For the prize, e-mail answers to info@foothill preps.com.