In a close game that wasn’t decided until the last minute, the Colfax girls’ basketball team used timely free throws and a stringent defense to pull out a road win at Hayward 39-35 Feb. 24, then finished off the regular season on the road again with a conference win over the pesky Boyceville Bulldogs 46-33 Feb. 27. Colfax finished the regular season with a 21-0 record and their sixth straight conference title at 16-0.
The Hurricanes were certainly no slouch as they entered the game with a 17-1 record and 11-1 in the Heart O’ North Conference. They were also ranked seventh in the AP poll for Division 3 schools. Colfax, after having a game against Ladysmith cancelled last week were 19-0 and ranked second in Division 4. The game may have looked like a mismatch however as the Vikings took a 10-2 lead to start the game as Alexis Rudi and Dannielle Dachel both canned a triple and Braanna Steen hit from close range and added a pair of free throws. The Hurricanes then went on a six point run to put the first quarter score at 10-8 for Colfax.
The Hurricanes did something almost unheard of as they held Colfax to just four points in the second quarter, coming from buckets by Steen and Taylor Shipman as Hayward took a 16-14 advantage into the intermission.
“We had a hard time scoring after we had a lead,” coach Joe Doucette said. “We went about 12 minutes without scoring any points because of Hayward’s long and athletic kids and their defense.”
Mallie Doucette, who had been held scoreless the first half came up with a deuce and a triple, then began penetrating the lane and dishing the ball off to her teammates as both teams came up with 10 third quarter points, leaving the Vikings behind 26-24 entering the final eight minutes of play.
Defense kept them in the game as Dachel and Shipman came up with several sparkling steals and along with Doucette, started knocking down free throws to help Colfax take a lead. Doucette was 6 for 6 from the foul line with a basket in the middle, Shipman went 2 for 2 from the line to put Colfax up 38-35 and Dachel, after missing two freebies, came back after Hayward called a timeout to try and ice her and canned one with two seconds left to seal the win.
“We were better in the second half, getting the ball inside but we were never great offensively all night,” coach Doucette said. “If we hadn’t defended well, we would have been done for sure. We struggled but we found a way to hang in there and score when we needed to. Making free throws down the line really helped us. We have done a good job with those lately. We found a way to grind out a win and I hope we can continue to make plays when we need them,” he added.
Doucette was the only Viking to score in double figures with 13 while the Hurricane’s Morgan Johnson who averages 17 points a game, was held to 10. Colfax knocked down 12 of 15 free throws while Hayward was 11 for 17.
COLFAX (39) Doucette 3-6-6-13, Steen 3-3-4-9, Dachel 2-1-3-6, Shipman 2-2-2-6, Rudi 1-0-0-3, C. Olson 1-0-0-2
HAYWARD (35) Johnson 4-2-5-10, P. Somerville 4-2-4-10, K. Stark 1-5-6-7, E. Taylor 3-0-0-6, S. Kuschel 0-2-2-2
THREE POINTERS: Doucette 1, Rudi 1, Dachel 1
After defeating the Bulldogs by 26 points earlier in the year, the Vikings worked a little harder for their 13 point victory this time. There is a chance the teams may meet again in the regional tournament if Boyceville beats Cadott in the first round on Tuesday night. The Vikings held a 12-4 lead after the first quarter with their all senior starting lineup as Emily Halpin led the way with four points. Rudi tallied six second quarter points to go with five from Dachel to help increase the lead at the break to 25-16.
Neither team was burning the nets but Doucette and Dachel both knocked down triples as the Vikings outscored the Bulldogs 11-7 in the third stanza and the teams played even the final eight minutes with 10 points apiece
“We played well in stretches but Boyceville out played us at times,” coach Doucette said. “We traveled too many times and missed a lot of easy shots. But it is great to win and finish a great regular season. The kids have worked extremely hard and we met every challenge so far and we are looking forward to what we can do in the tournament.”
Doucette finished with a game leading 11 points while Dachel added 10 and Rudi nine. Colfax was 11 for 19 at the foul line while Boyceville was just 5 for 14.
COLFAX (46) Doucette 4-2-5-11, Dachel 4-0-0-10, Rudi 2-0-5-6-9, Shipman 2-0-0-5, Steen 1-2-2-5, Halpin 2-1-3-5
BOYCEVILLE (33) A. Peterson 2-1-2-7, M. Riek 3-0-0-7, A. Lake 3-1-4-7, A. Bird 2-1-4-5, M. Kuhn 1-1-2-4, C. Malean 1-1-2-3
THREE POINTERS: Dachel 2, Doucette 1, Shipman 1, Steen 1, Peterson 2, Riek 1, Kuhn 1