Joe Visman scored a game-high 32 points Saturday to lead an aggressive attacking offense as host El Dorado High outlasted Colfax 74-66 to take third place on the final night of the annual Gold Dust Tournament. First place went to Amador Valley, which defeated Davis in the championship game.
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Visman tallied 15 in the first half as the Cougars erased a nine-point, first quarter deficit and stormed into a lead of 42-35 at the halftime break. Though the Falcons crept within two twice in the last quarter, El Dorado never lost the lead in a final eight minutes that featured 27 free throw attempts.
“We knew we lost yesterday and wanted to come out with a victory tonight,” said Visman who was the Cougars’ representative on the all tournament team. “Our defense let up a little (in the second half) because we thought we had it but we came back and finished it.”
El Dorado led by 16 near the end of the third quarter before Colfax, led by all-tourney pick Chase Mosier, made its run aided by several Cougar turnovers. With the intensity ratcheted up and both teams in the bonus , a parade of players went to the free throw line in the last quarter.
Clinging to a 61-59 lead, Visman hit a leaner off the glass. After the Falcons answered with two from the free throw line, Dan Smith converted one-of-two from the charity stripe, Visman sank a couple, Justin Morrison passed over the Colfax defense to Visman for a close-range bucket and David Cochran made one-of-two free throws as El Dorado extended to 69-62 with 1:36 left.
After a Falcon score, Smith drained 3-of-4 freebies and Visman countered another Colfax basket to close the scoring between the two-ex-Pioneer Valley League neighbors. According to Cougar head coach Allen McCoy, Saturday’s victory brought a sigh of relief as it was just El Dorado’s second win over the Falcons in the last 10 years.
“Anytime you can get a win over Colfax it’s a big deal – they’ve been a strong program for many years,” McCoy said. “I thought we played great, really wanted it and treated it like a championship game.”
Colfax threatened to run away with it early as it shot to a 19-10 lead before Kenny Headd scored on a putback and Cochran drove in for two. Still, the Falcons led 23-14 after the first quarter and opened the second with a basket to bump their lead to 11.
“Our start had to do with the fact we had a tough game last night, Colfax is well-coached and came out and made their shots. But we weathered the storm, adjusted, kept fighting and never gave up,” McCoy said.
The advantage rose to 13 before the Cougars clawed back. As part of El Dorado’s 28-point second quarter, Visman stuck a three-pointer, Cochran, Nick Jemmott and Smith scored inside, Cochran made a free throw, Visman scored in transition and putbacks by Smith and Cochran gave El Dorado the lead for good.
The Cougars continued to force the issue with hard drives to the basket and also hit the offensive boards to lead by seven at the half and 58-44 after three quarters.
After Visman’s 32 points; Cochran had 14; Smith added 12; Jemmott, six; Travis Reidell, five; Headd and Ian Truax, two; and Morrison, one point.
In junior varsity Gold Dust action, Ponderosa lost by two points to Amador Valley in the title game. El Dorado was fourth after falling to Davis early Saturday.