It had the atmosphere of a classic rivalry game between two talented basketball teams, but Bear River couldn’t get its shots to fall and Colfax took advantage, winning 47-34 Wednesday night at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.
“Our inability to score points was unbelievable,” said Bruins head coach Duwaine Ganskie. “It was a combination of things... bad shooting, bad decisions...”
For the second straight game Bear River fell behind early and dug itself a hole they would never climb out of. The Falcons opened on an 11-2 run and seemed to be well on its way to a rout. But, the Bruins didn’t hang their heads and scored the next four points with a free throws by Michael Raigoza and Nick Bachus followed by a steal by Bachus which he laid off the glass to pull his team within five points.
That would be as close as they would get.
“We had a little energy going in the second half,” said Ganskie. “We just got way down. You can’t get down.”
Bear River’s leading scorer on the season, Justin Beskeen, scored his first basket early in the second quarter driving hard to the rim in the extremely limited space the Falcons stingy defense provided. The Bruins only scored four points in the quarter and were held to just 10 total points in the first half as Colfax took a 21-10 lead into the locker room.
“We struggled to make shots,” Ganskie said. “(Colfax) played more physically than us, pushed off routes and there wasn’t good spacing.”
Beskeen briefly caught fire for the Bruins, scoring four consecutive baskets at the end of the third quarter, including a slam dunk on his way to finishing the night with 16 points and eight rebounds. Bachus scored a couple baskets down low to finish with five points and four boards. Braden Duncan and Tyler Hajewski each contributed four points and Michael Raigoza led the team with five assists. However it was Colfax’s night to put numbers up on the scoreboard.
“Colfax was real disciplined,” Ganskie added. “We contested shots, they just shot well.”
Will Buell led the Falcons attack with 18 points and was followed by teammate Matt Larsen with 13 points and Taylor Dorsey who tossed in nine, all of which came from beyond the arc.
The third quarter belonged to Beskeen as he dropped in eight of Bear River’s 10 points, including a nifty reverse lay-up which he spun high off the glass. Yet, Colfax managed to outscore Bear River 15-10 to take a comfortable 36-20 lead into the final quarter.
The game felt as if it was all but over as Bear River tried to rally back. A no-look pass by Beskeen led to a Bruins’ basket and that was quickly followed by Beskeen draining another jump shot to pull his team within 12. But Colfax always seemed to have an answer as it grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in. Trading baskets wasn’t going to get Bear River back in the game, but the fact the Falcons dropped in six 3-pointers compared to the Bruins’ zero also proved devastating.
“We’re better than we showed,” said Ganskie. “We need to have kids step up to find a better balance and know when to get Beskeen the ball and go to work.”
Throughout the game the student sections had held cheering matches back and forth across the gym. As the end neared and Bear River’s demise became more inevitable Colfax’s fans shouted, “This game’s over”, which was quickly combatted with a “Let’s play football” chant from the Bear River side.
Colfax’s win keeps them in the hunt for a Pioneer Valley League title while Bear River (13-7, 0-4 PVL) remains winless in the PVL and will go to work when it hosts Center Friday.
JV: Colfax 41, Bear River 40
The Bruins battled back from an early double-digit lead, but just couldn’t edge past the rival Falcons, falling by just one point.
David O’Brien had put the Bruins up by one with 10 seconds to go, but a Colfax missed shot followed by an offensive rebound and put back at the buzzer was the difference. Ben O’lena led the Bruins with 13 points, O’Brien finished with nine and Kyle Uclaray had eight.
The Bruins are 2- 2 in league and will face Center Friday.
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call 530-477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.