Trying to find talented teams for non-conference games to help make themselves stronger, the Colfax Vikings definitely found one of those teams when they traveled to Eau Claire Regis Monday, Jan. 19. By virtue of nine three point shots and a stifling defense, Colfax came out on top of the number 10 ranked Ramblers 49-41. Moving back to conference play three days later, in a slow and deliberate paced game, the Vikings managed to take a 28-18 win over Boyceville, putting the Colfax record at 10-0 in conference play and 13-2 overall.
Eau Claire Regis
The Ramblers are coming off a season that ended in the semi-finals of the WIAA state tournament and return just about every player from that team, including a pair of girls who will be playing college ball after graduation. One of them, junior Shae Brey who will be playing for Division 1 Butler, has been averaging 16 points a game this year but hadn’t seen the likes of a defender such as Colfax junior Dempsey Fogarty. Fogarty stuck to her like a pair of wet jeans all night, holding Brey to just eight points, with none in the fourth quarter.
The Vikings were on fire from behind the arc early on as Dannielle Dachel canned a pair of triples, Alexis Rudi added one of her own and Fogarty and Chey Olson both added a deuce but the score was knotted at 13-13 after the first quarter. Dachel and Karina Wait both added shots from three point land while Olson came up with her own three points on a short range basket and a free toss before Rudi drained a trey just before the buzzer to give Colfax a 26-23 halftime lead.
Defense was the name of the game for both teams in the third quarter with neither team able to score in double digits as the Vikings used two more treys from Dachel and a close range basket from Rudi for eight points while holding Regis to six points, allowing Colfax to gather a little breathing space with a 34-29 lead heading into the final quarter.
Regis was countering every Colfax basket with one of their own but with just under five minutes left in the game, Fogarty slid under the hoop for a basket, then took a full court pass from Rudi that resembled an Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson connection and she went in for a layup and a 41-36 lead. Dachel knocked down a free throw for a six point lead with under two minutes left but the Rambler’s Hannah Gibbons canned her first triple of the game to cut the lead to three. Regis added another bucket and with 54 seconds left, the Vikings’ lead was down to one at 42-41. Coach Joe Doucette called a time out and when play resumed, Dachel was fouled. She calmly went to the line and dropped in a pair of free tosses and after Regis missed on a three point attempt, Olson was knocked down after snaring the rebound. Olson hit one of two freebies for a 45-41 lead and the Ramblers again were off the mark on a shot from long range. Dachel was fouled again and she hit one of two and the Ramblers somehow thought they were going to heat up from long range but never did, resulting in another foul on their part. It was Wait’s turn to try and finish off the game as she connected on one of two free throws for a 47-41 lead, and after yet another missed triple attempt on the Ramblers part, Dachel finally ended the scoring and the game with a pair of free tosses.
“Regis is one of the biggest and most talented teams in our area,” Doucette said. “We were good defensively, we held our own on the boards and we had timely offense. Dannielle never left the court and she had huge shots and free throws for us. Dempsey defending against one of the areas best players was also a key and Chey, Karina and Andrea Brantner battled all night inside against their taller players. I am really proud of our team for their effort and the togetherness they showed by helping each other out all night. Regis made a run in the final few minutes but we were able to keep our composure and hold them off,” he added.
Dachel led all scorers with 21 points from five triples and six of eight free throws. Rudi added 11 points with three treys of her own. Colfax finished 10 of 16 from the foul line while Regis was seven of eight.
COLFAX (49) Dachel 5-6-8-21, Rudi 4-0-0-11, Olson 2-3-5-7, Fogarty 3-0-0-6, Wait 1-1-3-4
REGIS (41) Hal. Gibbons 4-3-3-11, H. Anderson 3-2-2-8, Brey 3-2-3-8, L. Shinners 3-0-0-7, Han. Gibbons 3-0-0-7
THREE POINTERS: Dachel 5, Rudi 3, Wait 1, Shinners 1, Han. Gibbons 1
Oh, how the game of basketball can change depending on the team you are playing. After a fast paced and high intensity game against Regis, the Bulldogs came over with a different type of game plan for the Vikings. After Colfax defeated them 46-17 earlier in the season, coach Jolene Bird decided the best way to keep Colfax from scoring that many points again was to not let them get the ball. (Ala the same game plan most NFL teams had against the afore mentioned Aaron Rodgers). Using their passing skills, Boyceville played keep away most of the first half hoping the Vikings would get impatient and perhaps start fouling them or at least get thrown out of rhythm. The plan worked somewhat as after Karina Wait put Colfax up 2-0 on a steal and layup, the Vikings had several empty possessions when they did manage to get the ball in their hands. The problem for the Bulldogs was, after a Shyanne Marlett deuce early on, they couldn’t get the ball in the bucket again and the first inning – oops, make that quarter – ended at 2-2. Fouling was not a problem for either team as Colfax drew only three in the half and the Bulldogs had two.
It was a little like watching paint dry again in the second quarter with neither team scoring for a minute and a half before Marlett put the Bulldogs up 4-2. Dachel decided enough was enough as she canned a triple a few seconds later for a 5-4 lead which they never gave up. A few minutes later, Olson added a trey and after Dachel’s swipe and layup, the half ended with Colfax up 10-4.
The pace picked up a bit in the third when Rudi scored from under the hoop and Fogarty woke the crowd up with a triple to go with Wait’s deuce for a 17-7 Colfax lead. Morgan Kuhn canned a trey for the Bulldogs but that was countered by Katie Christoffel’s shot from behind the arc to keep the lead to 10 at 20-10. A Boyceville basket by Cassie Malean were the only other points scored in the last two minutes, leaving Colfax up 20-12 at the end of the quarter.
Dachel lit the flame under the Vikings as she scored all eight of her team’s points in the final frame on a pair of three point shots sandwiched around two free tosses in the first four minutes. After that, it was the Vikings’ turn to run the clock as they whittled away a couple of minutes at a time before taking a shot. The Bulldogs had only six team fouls but chose not to foul the Vikings to try and get the ball back and the game came to its conclusion with the ball in a Colfax player’s hands.
“Boyceville came in with a plan to be patient and it was tough for us to get the ball,” Doucette said. “Our ability to defend was big and we hit some three’s to build on our lead. We had to grind and work hard to find a way to win. This is the type of game we needed to win,” he added.
Dachel was the only player for both teams who scored in double figures with 13 points. Colfax knocked down six shots from behind the arc while Boyceville had just one. The Bulldogs First Team All Conference player last year, Abbey Bird, has been playing all season with a leg brace to help protect a torn ACL and did not score in the game.
COLFAX (28) Dachel 4-2-2-13, Wait 2-0-0-4, Fogarty 1-0-2-3, Christoffel 1-0-0-3, Olson 1-0-0-3
BOYCEVILLE (18) Malean 3-0-0-6, Kuhn 2-0-2-5, Marlett 2-0-0-4
THREE POINTERS: Dachel 3, Fogarty 1, Christoffel 1, Olson 1, Kuhn 1