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Golden Eagles fly by Falcons

KENDALL ARNETT TOURNAMENT: Witt scores 25 points for Colfax, which falls in first round for 3rd straight year
By: Ray Hacke, Journal Sports Writer
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Justin Witt’s roots at the Kendall Arnett Tournament run deeper than most. The Colfax High senior represents the third generation of his family to be involved in the tournament in some way. His grandfather, Wendell, coached Placer High in it. His father, Dave, played for the Hillmen in it. So when Witt scored a game-high 25 points on four 3-pointers and 7-of-8 shooting at the foul line in Colfax’s tournament opener against Del Oro Monday night, it was the fulfillment of a dream for the 6-foot-3 guard in every way except one. The Falcons lost in the first round for the third year in a row, falling to the Golden Eagles 70-59 at Placer’s Earl Crabbe Gymnasium. “It’s not easy,” Witt said of not being able to win a Kendall Arnett title during his time at Colfax. “Growing up, you want to be here, you want to be in it. It’s something you dream of. It’s a championship game in the first round.” Colfax (9-3) had beaten Del Oro (7-3) handily earlier this season, winning a Foundation Game 80-59 on Nov. 30. “One thing that was different was that we had our football players back,” Golden Eagles coach Geoff Broyles said. “(Seniors) Spencer Butterfield, Jon Root and Nico Ruiz gave us a little bit more depth. They’re all experienced players, they understand how we like to play and they were able to get us where we wanted to be.” That was especially true of Butterfield, according to Colfax coach Mike O’Connell. The 6-foot-3 guard scored 16 points and led Del Oro with 10 rebounds. “Butterfield opened up a lot of things for their other guys,” O’Connell said. “Butterfield was all over the boards. I thought we played solid defense on him, but he’s such a good athlete, and he brings a lot of physicality that they didn’t have before.” Both teams shot just under 50 percent (9-for-19) from 3-point range. Witt and junior guard Austin Oberg hit four treys apiece for Colfax. Senior guard Nick Lewis buried five for Del Oro and junior guard Aaron Hendricks added three more. Hendricks led the Eagles with 18 points, while Lewis finished with 15. Oberg had 14 points for Colfax, while senior center Ryan Salmonson led the Falcons in rebounding with eight. The game started out close, with Colfax trailing 9-3 in the first quarter before rallying to take a 16-14 lead into the second. Witt scored 10 of his points in the period. Del Oro responded by outscoring Colfax 26-17 in the second quarter. “We got some shooters some looks and were able to knock some shots down,” Broyles said. “We got some deflections, and we were able to get our hands on the basketball and get our transition game going.” Colfax will face Nevada Union, the team that won last year’s Kendall Arnett title, in the first round of consolation play at 3:30 p.m. today. Del Oro, meanwhile, will face Del Campo in the tournament semifinals at 6:30 p.m. “They’re very big, they’re very athletic and they can play a number of ways,” Broyles said of the Cougars. “They can put a lot of pressure n you. They can extend you full-court or lock you down in half-court. “They’re difficult to defend, and it will be a major challenge for us.”