COLFAX — Playing their final three games on the road, starting with a game against Mondovi Feb. 11, the Colfax girls knew they already had a share of the conference title when they entered the Buffaloes’ gym. Colfax was alone at the top of the conference at 13-0 while Mondovi was in second place with three losses and were the only team who had a shot at de-throning the Vikings.
The Colfax girls were a pretty determined group however, and had no intention of leaving that gym without a conference championship all to themselves. Although the offense had a slow start, much like the first time the two teams played in early January, a solid defense along with plenty of rebounding allowed the Vikings to turn a slim lead after the first quarter into a 44-22 win. Not only did the win seal the 17th conference title for Colfax under coach Joe Doucette, it was Doucette’s 500th career win. 452 of those wins came while leading the Vikings and the rest came while coaching the Winter Warriors.
Colfax followed up the Mondovi win with a sweetheart of a victory 69-35 over Glenwood City Feb. 14. They will end the regular season at Elk Mound Feb. 21.
After Colfax beat the Buffaloes by 10 points in their first go-round back in early January, Mondovi went on a seven game winning streak before dropping a one point game to Plum City. Although the Vikings weren’t shooting out the lights in the first half of this game, they limited their opposition to four free throws in the first quarter and just one basket in the second. After Braanna Steen put the Vikings on the board with a pair of free throws two minutes into the game, the Buffaloes scored those four points for a 4-2 lead. But Hannah Hover canned a triple and gave Colfax a lead they would never give up, and after a Mallie Doucette bucket and a free throw by Taylor Shipman, Colfax held an 8-4 lead after a quarter of play.
The Mondovi student section, wearing all black decided to stand up until one of their players scored from the field. Their legs must have gotten tired since they didn’t accomplish the feat until the 2:15 mark of the second quarter, Meanwhile, the Vikings had built a 15-6 lead and with a Steen trey, they went into the intermission up 18-6.
“This was really a hard fought game and both teams made the other team look sloppy on offense at times,” Doucette said. “It was a real defensive battle but we were able to make a few shots and get ahead.”
Steen hit from the paint just 10 seconds into the third quarter but eight empty possessions by the Vikings allowed Mondovi to get back to within five points at 21-16 with just over two minutes left in the quarter. Colfax went to their motion offense and after some pretty slick ball movement, Dannielle Dachel canned a three pointer and after another deuce by Doucette, the Vikings were up 26-18. Both teams had a chance to score in the last 25 seconds, but both came up empty.
It was all Colfax from there on out as they outscored the Buffaloes 18-4 with 10 of those points coming from the charity stripe. The Vikings continued to dominate the lane as Steen scored three times from close range and Dachel added a bucket on a drive. After Ryleigh Prochnow knocked down a pair of free throws for a 36-19 Colfax lead, Doucette stepped up to the line four times and hit seven of eight, and a final freebie from Brittany Rothbauer gave the Vikings the 22 point win.
“We knew Mondovi would play us tough,” coach Doucette said. “They are quick and athletic and their ball pressure gave us some problems. Steen scoring inside was a big key for us. She got us going when it looked like they were getting close. Dachel hit a big three pointer to stop their momentum. Our bench players (Alexis Rudi, Chey Olson, Shipman) gave us some big minutes and they were able to defend very well. The ability to defend and rebound, along with doing a nice job at the free throw line helped us overcome some offensive dry spots. To win the conference is a great feeling and I am very happy for this group of kids. They are a close team, they are very unselfish and have worked extremely hard to be in this position. For our seniors to win again says a lot for what they have done for our school and community,” he added.
The Vikings had an uncharacteristic 20 turnovers in the game and forced 19 by the Buffaloes. Mondovi shot just 5 for 35 from the floor and were 0 for 15 from three point range. Colfax was just 4 for 15 from behind the arc but went 14 for 19 from the foul line. Steen led the way with 15 points while Doucette added 13.
COLFAX (44) Steen 6-2-2-15, Doucette 3-7-8-13, Dachel 2-0-1-5, Rudi 1-0-0-3, Hover 1-0-0-3, Prochnow 1-0-0-2, Shipman 0-2-4-2, Rothbauer 0-1-2-1
MONDOVI (22) E. Stoughten 2-3-3-7, J. Franzwa 0-5-6-5, S. Kopp 1-2-2-4, A. Rud 1-1-3-3, M. Williamson 1-0-2-2, M. Lund 0-1-2-1
THREE POINTERS: Rudi 1, Hover 1, Dachel 1, Steen 1
With school called off throughout the area (including Colfax), usually games are cancelled too. But with it being so late in the season and bo’’s tournaments starting, the two schools decided to play the game. And just like the first time the teams met, Colfax used a big first quarter which included 11 points by Doucette, to take a 22-12 lead after a quarter of play.
The Vikings scored eight of their 17 second quarter points via the foul line as Rudi went 4 for 4 and Rothbauer and Steen were 2 for 2, helping them to add to their lead at 39-21 heading into the intermission.
It was Hover’s turn to light up the scoreboard as she scored all ten of her points in the game in the third quarter on a deuce, two triples and a pair of free throws and the Viking’s defense continued to play aggressive and held the Toppers to single digit scoring in the each of the last two quarters. Leading 55-30, Colfax continued to knock down free throws with Prochnow and Rothbauer both hitting two in the final stanza while Rudi hit a pair of short range shots and Doucette, Olson and Andrea Brantner all hit a deuce to finish off the game.
“This was another great win for us,” coach Doucette said. “We had great balance offensively and we moved the ball and shot well. We scored inside, outside and from the free throw line. Glenwood is very athletic and aggressive and they played well. We were able to play a lot of people and everyone contributed.”
Balanced scoring was a key factor for Colfax as Doucette led the team with 17 points, Prochnow added 12, Rudi, in her first varsity start came up with 10 as did Hover, and Steen ended the game with nine. Shooting 86% from the charity stripe also helped as they connected on 19 of 22 with Rudi leading the way with a 6 for 6 performance.
COLFAX (69) Doucette 7-2-2-17, Prochnow 4-2-2-12, Rudi 2-6-6-10, Hover 3-2-2-10, Steen 3-3-4-9, Rothbauer 0-4-4-4, Shipman 1-0-2-3, Olson 1-0-0-2, Brantner 1-0-0-2
GLENWOOD CITY (35) O. Weidling 4-2-2-10, Ke. Knops 2-0-0-6, J. Ullom 2-1-2-5, J. Kopacz 1-2-2-5, M. Kadinger 2-0-0-4, M. Wink 1-1-2-3, Kr. Knops 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: Hover 2, Prochnow 2, Ke. Knops 2, Doucette 1, Shipman 1, Kopacz 1