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Colfax beats Pleasant Valley to claim 2nd straight Northern California girls basketball regional title

Falcons win their 34th game of the season after fighting back from 15-6 first-quarter deficit
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CHICO, CALIFORNIA — You don't win 34 games by accident. Or a second straight Northern California girls basketball championship. 

Considered small, but mighty, the Colfax Falcons once again rose to the top of Northern California's elite — on the road no less — with a 52-48 Division 2 NorCal championship at No. 3 seed Pleasant Valley. 

The defending defending NorCal 3 champions (34-2) will face Southern California champ Harvard-Westlake, a 54-45 winner of No. 1 seed Oak Park at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento in the state championship game 2 p.m. Saturday. 

The way this one started, it looked like the Vikings who would be slated for the NBA Arena. 

Colfax poses after winning their second straight regional title, this one 52-48 at Pleasant Valley on Tuesday.

Colfax poses after winning their second straight regional title, this one 52-48 at Pleasant Valley on Tuesday.

Riding her heroic performance in Saturday's dramatic 64-62 win over Oakland Tech, junior guard AJ Gambol scored 10 of her team's 15 points in the first quarter as Pleasant Valley took a nine-point lead. 

The Falcons (34-2) led 2-0, but a 13-0 run by the Vikings shifted the momentum. Considering Pleasant Valley defeated Colfax 58-48 earlier this season (Dec. 3) perhaps the Vikings figured that trend would continue. 

Not so. 

By halftime, the Falcons had chipped away at the Vikings’ lead, led by Juliette James’ 10 points.. Pleasant Valley led 24-23 at halftime, and the Falcons opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 32-24 lead, one it would never relinquish. 

That despite another massive effort from Gambol, who finished with a game-high 31 points. .She had 28, including the game-winning buzzer beater on Saturday. (see video at top of page). 

“We came off really hot, and we came in expecting that we were going to win the game,” Gambol said. “I think that was the issue again. We’ve done that a few times this season, coming off a big last win it’s the pressure. We got too cocky in the first quarter, then they came back. We tried to fight, we tried to claw, but it is what it is.”

Colfax outscored the Vikings 27-24 in the second half, and the Vikings appeared gassed. Laurlyn Massick had 10 of her 14 in the second half to help out Kaia Diederich, who scored a team-high 18 points for the Falcons.  

Heavy legs, and Colfax's relentless pressure, might have led to Pleasant Valley's off shooting night. A 42% shooting team on the year, made just 29% on Tuesday, including 14 of 35 by Gambol and 3-for-13 by second-leading score Maddux Wilson. 

Despite the cold shooting, the Vikings were still right there, thanks in part to 13 rebounds and five blocks by Ava Dunn. 

Heading into the game, Colfax coach Rexanne Simpton told Gold Country Media" "People laugh at us as the small school and think we’re not very good. But these girls just battle and they play for each other. They play for the school and for each other. If we leave it all on the floor and do the things that we're supposed to do, good things happen.” 

Like heading to the Golden 1 Center for a second straight year.