Freethrows key to Vikings’ win over Hurricanes

COLFAX — Shooting 86% on the free throw line by connecting on 19 of 22 shots helped the Colfax girl’s basketball team earn a hard fought win over the Hayward Hurricanes Nov. 27 on the Viking’s home court.

Hayward is always one of the top teams in the Heart O’ North Conference and they showed why as they contested just about every shot the Vikings put up with their aggressive style of defense. But the Colfax girls were just as aggressive on both sides of the court as their strategy of driving to the basket paid off early as they scored eight of their 12 points in the first quarter from the foul line as the Hayward defenders were a step behind them on those drives. Mallie Doucette canned three of four attempts, Alexis Rudi was two for two as was Taylor Shipman, and Ryleigh Prochnow dropped one in for a 12-9 lead.

The teams traded buckets to start the second quarter before a three point play by the Hurricanes knotted things up at 14-14. But Hannah Hover drained a pair of triples sandwiched around a Hayward deuce to put Colfax up 20-16 with a minute to go in the half. The Vikings had a chance to increase the lead in the last 50 seconds but couldn’t get a shot off against the Hurricanes zone defense and they went into the break with the four point lead.

Colfax came out strong in the third quarter with Hover scoring on a layup after her own steal, Braanna Steen hit twice from the paint with Rudi nailing two free tosses in between and Doucette hit a three ball for a 31-20 lead. With 30 seconds left, Dannielle Dachel came up with a big steal and Shipman was fouled while grabbing an offensive rebound. Shipman canned two more freebies and the Vikings went into the final eight minutes, seemingly in control 33-22.

The Hurricanes were not ready to get blown over however, as they came up with six points including a three pointer by Ricki Lee and just like that the Colfax lead was cut to five at 33-28. Steen muscled her way through the paint for a bucket but a Colfax turnover led to a pair of free throws for Hayward and the Vikings were hanging on to a 35-32 lead with 6:09 left in the game. Dachel came up with another steal under the Hurricanes basket and the Vikings went into an offensive weave to use up some clock with a four point lead after a Doucette free throw. With 2:10 showing on the clock, the Hurricanes committed their seventh foul putting Shipman at the line. She canned both shots and after Hayward came up empty on their fourth straight possession, Doucette pulled down a defensive board and was decked on the play, sending her to the foul line. She calmly hit both free throws and did the same thing on the Viking’s next possession to put the game away.

“Hayward has a good program and this was a good test for us,” Colfax coach Joe Doucette said. “I thought we were in good shape when we had a big lead in the third quarter, but we made some mistakes and they capitalized on them. I thought we did a good job of remaining poised and keeping our composure. Hannah hit two big three pointers before the half to give us a lead and Braanna had two key baskets in the third quarter to keep us on top. Mallie and Taylor hit some important free throws down the stretch and Dannielle did a nice job at point guard against their very athletic guards. Our defense was very important because we struggled offensively at times. Both teams played hard and it was a very well played game for this early in the season,” he added.

Mallie Doucette was high scorer in the game with 15 points including eight of nine free throws. Hover added eight points in the contest.

Colfax will have a break until Dec. 4 when they travel to Spring Valley to resume conference play.

HAYWARD (34) M. Johnson 4-1-1-9, P. Somerville 3-3-4-9, Lee 3-0-0-7, E. Scherer 2-0-0-4, J. Davidson 1-1-2-3, M. Swam 1-0-0-2

COLFAX (42) Doucette 3-8-9-15, Hover 3-0-0-8, Shipman 0-6-7-6, Steen 3-0-0-6, Rudi 0-4-4-4, Dachel 1-0-0-2, Prochnow 0-1-2-1

THREE POINTERS: Hover 2, Doucette 1, Lee 1