Playing games against two of the best teams in the area in one week didn’t seem to phase the Colfax girls as they won both of them on their home court, starting with a 50-44 win over Eau Claire Regis Feb. 3, then taking care of some conference business with a over Mondovi 54-44 three days later. The win over the Buffaloes puts them at 10-0 in conference play and 14-0 overall with eight games left, six of them conference games.
The Ramblers are a much improved team from a year ago when the Vikings beat them twice, by 14 points in the regular season and by 23 in the regional final. Regis was 8-1 in the Western Cloverbelt standings and were 12-2 overall when they entered the gym for the Monday night contest. Colfax took an early 9-4 lead thanks to buckets from close range by Braanna Steen, Chey Olson and Mallie Doucette who added a free throw, and Alexis Rudi’s two free tosses. The Vikings turned the ball over twice however, and Regis took a 10-9 lead before Steen found Doucette open in the lane for a deuce, and with 13 seconds left in the quarter, Dannielle Dachel drove to the hoop for two and a 13-10 Colfax lead.
Both teams are famous for their tenacious defense which showed throughout the game, forcing some long possessions with neither team getting a lot of good looks at the hoop. Regis took a 16-15 lead in the second stanza but Doucette drew a foul on a drive and knocked down a pair of free tosses to get the lead back. The Ramblers regained the lead on a deuce and after a Steen free throw, Regis pulled out to a five point lead at 22-17. Another Steen deuce and two more freebies from Doucette got the Vikings to within two, down 23-21, and Hannah Gibbons of Regis and Taylor Shipman traded baskets and the half ended with Shipman’s layup attempt rolling off the edge of the rim at the buzzer, leaving Colfax down 25-23.
Steen’s scoop shot knotted the score to start the third and after a Regis basket, Steen tied it again on two free throws. Doucette wasn’t having much luck getting shots to drop from close up, but she continued to do the next best thing, drawing the foul and hitting both freebies again for a two point lead. Chey Olson came up with a steal and an assist to Steen, Doucette drew yet another foul and hit two more free throws and Shipman hit the boards hard and pulled down a rebound, then zipped a pass to Steen who drew another Regis foul. Steen hit both freebies for a 35-28 lead. But the Ramblers wouldn’t go away as their leading scorer Shae Brey who averages 15 points a game but had been held to just three points at this point, nailed a triple to close the gap. Colfax had a chance to add on to the lead with 12 seconds left but had four shots from around the paint all miss the mark and they held a 35-31 lead entering the final quarter.
The Vikings’ full court pressure began to take its toll on the Ramblers, resulting in Doucette finally finding some open space on the perimeter and knocking down a trey for a 38-32 advantage. But Haley Gibbons scored from underneath and sister Hannah Gibbons drained a triple to cut the lead to a single point. Doucette then came up with a nifty assist when she drove the lane and dished off to Steen for a deuce, and on their next possession, Steen broke through a double team and spun through the lane for two more and a 42-39 lead with around 3:00 to go. Then one of two big calls by the referees came up as Regis missed a shot and the ball went out of bounds on the play. After a consultation between the referees, the ball was given to Colfax. Regis proceeded to pick up their seventh team foul a few seconds later, putting Dachel at the line and she calmly hit both shots. Then Haley Gibbons hit a short jumper and Hannah Gibbons hit a free throw to cut the Colfax lead to 44-42 with 1:28 left. And doing what any smart coach would do, Vikings’ coach Joe Doucette made sure the ball got into the hands of one of his seniors. On this occasion, it was Mallie Doucette who drew yet another foul on the Ramblers. Dropping in two more freebies gave her team a four point lead but Haley Gibbons closed the gap again with a put back. Steen was double teamed again while trying to dribble down court and lost the ball, then the second big call by the refs came about as the Ramblers Kristin Mathiowetz flew down court and tried to get to the hoop. She didn’t count on “Tuffy” Taylor Shipman blocking her way however and was called for a charge on the play. Six seconds later, Steen drew the fifth foul on Haley Gibbons to take her out of the game, and knocked down two free throws for a 48-44 lead with 21 seconds left. Dachel came up with a defensive gem when she caused Regis to throw the ball away and with her free throw and another by Shipman, they finally ended the game.
“Regis came ready to play and they had us on the ropes for a long time,” Colfax coach Joe Doucette said. “We could never pull away and get a comfortable lead. Every time we would get a decent lead, they made big plays to get back into it. We were better the second half and the third quarter was a big key for us defensively. Their height gave us a lot of problems as they blocked a lot of our shots but we fought and persevered all night.”
Steen and Doucette combined for 37 of the team points with Steen collecting 19 including 7 for 8 at the foul line while Doucette scored 18 points and was a phenomenal 11 for 11 at the charity stripe. She also had the only three pointer of the game for Colfax. As a team they were 25 for 29 for 86% at the line while Regis was 5 for 9. The Vikings were whistled for just ten fouls in the game and the Ramblers were called for 20.
COLFAX (50) Steen 6-7-8-19, Doucette 3-11-11-18, Dachel 1-3-4-5, Shipman 1-2-4-4, Rudi 0-2-2-2, Olson 1-0-0-2
REGIS (44) Hannah Gibbons 5-2-4-13, Haley Gibbons 5-1-2-11, A. Giguere 3-1-2-8, Mathiowetz 3-0-0-6, Brey 2-1-1-6
THREE POINTERS: Doucette 1, Hannah Gibbons 1, Brey 1
The Buffaloes entered the Colfax gym for the second game of a double header (the Colfax boys played Spring Valley just before it) on a seven game winning streak and just one conference loss—a 55-41 loss to the Vikings back in December. The smaller and very scrappy Mondovi girls made it clear they were going to try and shut down the Viking’s top two scorers, Doucette and Steen and hope the rest of the Viking players wouldn’t hurt them. Part of the plan worked as Mondovi’s Mattie Mahlum stuck to Steen like a wet blanket most of the night, holding her to just six points, but Doucette & Co. eventually picked up the slack after a slow first quarter. Colfax fell behind 3-0 and followed up with three empty possessions before Shipman scored from close up, Dachel nailed a triple from a Doucette assist who then drove the lane for two on the next possession, and Dachel calmly slithered through the lane to score with two ticks left on the clock for a 9-6 lead.
Colfax rattled off seven straight points on a Dachel baseline drive, a Rudi triple and two free throws by Steen for a 16-6 lead and the defense held the Buffaloes to just six points in the second quarter, Doucette outdid them by connecting for the final seven points of the quarter, giving the Vikings a 23-12 halftime lead.
Mondovi picked up on the scoring end as they matched the Vikings in points in the third stanza with 17. But Colfax seemingly countered every one of their points as Steen hit a bucket to go with three pointers by Shipman and Rudi, then added another deuce after some excellent ball movement to push the lead to 33-19. A put back by Doucette, a Jessica Moonen trey and two Doucette free tosses gave Colfax a 40-29 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
The Buffaloes continued to add points but were beginning to wear down against the Colfax pressure resulting in several visits to the charity stripe for Doucette. Rudi opened the quarter with her third triple of the game and after a Doucette freebie, Dachel took a feed from Rudi for two more points. From there on out, Colfax maintained at least a 10 point lead as Doucette added a deuce and six more free throws to seal the win, and most likely put them in the driver’s seat for another conference championship.
“This was a big win for us and right now it was as big a game as we could play,” coach Doucette said. “Mondovi has been just hammering some pretty good teams and we knew we would have a big advantage in the conference race with a win. Our kids are very explosive and are scoring a lot of points and we tried hard, defended well and held our own rebounding, especially in the second half. Everyone who played helped us as we had some foul trouble for the first time. When they swarmed Braanna, we had others step up and hit some big three’s. Our big crowd helped us get going a few times,” he added.
Doucette finished with a season high 22 points without even an attempt from three point land while Rudi and Dachel added nine points each. Colfax was 12 for 17 at the free throw line and Mondovi was 5 for 7.
COLFAX (54) Doucette 6-10-11-22, Rudi 3-0-0-9, Dachel 4-0-0-9, Steen 2-2-3-6, Shipman 2-0-1-5, Moonen 1-0-0-3
MONDOVI (44) J. Franzwa 6-1-2-15, O. Weiss 3-1-1-8, C. Kent 2-0-0-5, J. Harris 2-0-0-4, S. Kopp 2-0-0-4, E. Stoughten 1-0-0-3, Mahlum 1-1-2-3, M. Lund 0-2-2-2
THREE POINTERS: Rudi 3, Franzwa 2, Moonen 1, Dachel 1, Shipman 1, Stoughten 1, Kent 1, Weiss 1