â Two teams going in different directions met here Wednesday night to complete the Pioneer Valley Leagueâs boys basketball regular season.
For the Placer Hillmen, who arrived at Colfax Highâs Pucci Pavilion with the outright PVL championship already in hand, the league finale was a chance for the Hillmen to polish their game as they await the opening of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Sectionâs Div. III playoffs which will begin at home sites next Wednesday.
âAre we playoff ready?â Hillmen coach Mark Lee pondered after being asked the question if the Hillmen are ready for the postseason. âI think we are, but weâll find out in about five more days.â
The Hillmen, after an uneven first half , exerted themselves over the final two quarters and ended up pulling away from the Falcons for an eventual 62-46 win. The victory ups Placerâs season record to 24-3 and gives the Hillmen a final PVL slate of 9-1.
Colfax, meanwhile, which missed the playoffs for the third straight year, ends the campaign at 14-13 and in PVL play finished 3-7.
âI thought we battled the whole way, but Placerâs defensive pressure ended up being the difference,â said Colfax coach Terry OâKeefe. âWe gave them a lot of easy baskets in the last quarter. But good teams will do that to you.â
Leading 28-24 at halftime, Placer turned up its defensive pressure in the third quarter and, with Jeremy Lillis and Brendyn Ikeda combining for eight points, pushed out to a 42-32 advantage at the end of three stanzas.
However, with Jordan Ferreira saddled with foul trouble, Colfax scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to pull within 42-36 with 6:05 to play. But Placer answered the Colfax surge with two big baskets each from Ikeda and Jordan Perlow. When Kai Huntsberry added another tally, the Hillmen were sailing home with a comfortable 52-38 lead with just over three minutes to play.
âI thought both Brendyn and Jordan really gave us a boost tonight,â said Lee. âThey made some big plays for us in the fourth quarter.â
Lillis led the Hillmen with 24 points including 14 in the big second half. Ikeda and Huntsberry, meanwhile, both finished with 10 apiece and Ferreira, who eventually fouled out of the game with just over three minutes to play finished with six.
OâKeefe had another big game for the Falcons as he netted 25 points, including four treys. Mason Ahrens followed with nine and Maxx Wolff added five.
For Placer, the Hillmen will now await todayâs CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Selection show which will unveil the playoff brackets. The show, which will be streamed on www.nhsfnetwork.com begins at 4:30 p.m.
Placer is expected to be in the top eight of the Div. III bracket and will open with a home game next Wednesday at Earl Crabbe Gym.
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