Lady Vikings start cold but heat up and pound Panthers

COLFAX — Whether it was the temperature hovering around the zero mark outside or just a week long break from competition, the Colfax girls’ basketball team took a while to get on track before eventually pulling away for a 56-34 win at home over the St. Croix Central Panthers Dec. 5.

Central held an early 3-0 lead before Braanna Steen broke the ice with a bucket off an offensive rebound for Colfax after four minutes of play. With plenty of empty possessions by both teams including turnovers and missed shots, Alexis Rudi finally dropped in a pair of free throws and Mallie Doucette added a deuce and the first quarter ended in a 6-6 tie.

The Vikings applied full court pressure most of the game and early on, the Panthers had some success against it as they scored on a layup for an 8-6 lead. Steen knotted it up on a bucket from a Taylor Shipman assist but Central countered with their own deuce. Shipman drained a three pointer, Steen scored on an underhand scoop off the inbounds pass, Katlin Sauerwein added a put back and  Doucette added two more on a shot in the paint for a 17-12 lead but the Panthers stayed in the game and cut the Viking’s lead to 21-17. But nine quick points, starting and ending with a triple from Doucette with a basket and free toss in between from Steen put Colfax up 30-17 and when Dannielle Dachel knocked down two free throws, Colfax took a 32-18 lead into the intermission.

“We had a slow start and just couldn’t get going early on,” Colfax coach Joe Doucette said. “We had a nice scoring stretch in the second quarter and into the third quarter, though.”

The Vikings’ pressure on the defensive end resulted in three straight steals to open the third stanza and a lay up each from Shipman and Dachel. Sloppy play by both teams kept the new scoreboard quiet for a couple of minutes but Steen finally scored from close range, Jessica Moonen added three points on a bucket and free throw and Dachel swiped the ball and went end to end for a basket and a 43-20 Colfax lead. After Chey Olson added two points off a put back, the Panthers decided to make a run of their own and outscored the Vikings 12-2 in a span of two minutes. Lauren Moll accounted for nine of those points on three triples but Colfax took a 47-32 lead into the final eight minutes. Colfax finished things off with deuces from Steen and Emily Halpin and Doucette’s third trey while holding the Panthers to one basket in the fourth quarter.

“We really struggled with turnovers, especially with a lot of traveling calls,” coach Doucette said. “But I give credit to Central and their coach. They have improved and they played hard.”

Doucette finished with 17 points to lead the Vikings while Steen added 15. The Vikings were 10 for 12 from the charity stripe and the Panthers were 6 for 14.

COLFAX (56) Doucette 6-2-2-17, Steen 7-1-1-15, Shipman 2-2-2-7, Dachel 2-2-2-6, Moonen 1-1-1-3, Rudi 0-2-4-2, Olson 1-0-0-2, Halpin 1-0-0-2, Sauerwein 1-0-0-2

ST. CROIX CENTRAL (34) Moll 3-0-2-9, M. Johnson 3-0-0-7, E. Landry 2-2-4-6, K. Pabst 2-1-3-5, B. Kopacz 1-2-2-4, A. Olson 1-0-1-2, E. Scorr 0-1-2-1

THREE POINTERS: Doucette 3, Moll 3, Shipman 1, Johnson 1