by Marlys Kruger
COLFAX — The Glenwood City girls’ basketball team was hoping the third time would be the charm when they faced off against the Colfax Vikings for a regional semi-final game played in Colfax Feb. 27.
After defeating Boyceville in the first round game, the Hilltoppers came into the contest with a 16-7 record, with two of those losses to the Vikings during conference play. After sticking with the Vikings through the first half due to their tight defense, in the end it was their inability to get the ball in the net that cost them the game, dropping the contest 39-29.
The Toppers took a quick 2-0 lead 15 seconds into the game when Moriah Kuehndorf stole the ball and scored on a layup. After a Viking three point shot, Morgan Kadinger put the Toppers back in front on a put back but the only other points they could muster was a deuce from Rachel Klatt and they trailed 9-6 after the first quarter.
After missing a couple of open shots, then getting a charging call against them, Glenwood used their zone defense to keep Colfax out of the lane and off the scoreboard. Kuehndorf scored on another fast break layup and Maya Petersen scored from under the hoop to put the Toppers up 10-9, and after a Colfax deuce, Kuehndorf countered with her own, again driving through the lane to go back up 12-11. The lead changed hands again when Colfax forced a turnover and scored on a fast break, then both teams went cold for a few minutes before Dannielle Dachel nailed a triple for a 16-12 Colfax lead. Kuehndorf broke the Vikings’ momentum by snaring an offensive rebound and canning a short jumper and the Toppers went into the intermission down 16-14.
Glenwood City missed out on several opportunities to pull ahead in the first three minutes of the third quarter but they had six shots bounce off the backboard or roll off the hoop. The Vikings didn’t fare any better as they came up empty on several of their own shot attempts. Dachel hit a spin around shot in the paint to up the Colfax lead and a Dempsey Fogarty three pointer increased their lead to 21-14. This time it was Jen Kopacz’s turn to stop the bleeding, as she scored on a nifty underhand scoop in the lane, but a Dachel triple kept the Toppers down by eight at 24-16. After the Toppers came up empty on a pair of free tosses, that’s how the third quarter ended.
“We followed our game plan by driving the lane but we just didn’t finish the play,” Glenwood City coach Justin Kuehndorf said. “That was a whole momentum changer when we missed those open shots. Our defense was keeping us in the game, forcing them to take a lot of outside shots. They hit a couple of three pointers but we still were in striking distance,” he added.
But Glenwood misfired on a shot from under the hoop and on a three pointer to start the third quarter, and in between those misses, Colfax scored again to up the lead to 10 points. Klatt broke the Topper drought with a shot in the paint but the Vikings went on a five point run which included another Dachel trey, leaving the Toppers down 31-18. Then in a 10 second span, Kuehndorf and Morgan Kadinger came up with buckets in the lane off a couple of Colfax turnovers to cut the deficit to 31-22 with just over four minutes left. After Colfax called a timeout to get settled down, Andrea Brantner canned back to back triples to increase the Vikings lead and put the Toppers in a hole at 37-22, and it proved to be too deep to climb out of at this point. Klatt added a couple of deuces and Glenwood continued to play hard on defense, forcing a pair of Colfax turnovers with under two minutes left. But coming up empty on three of four free throw attempts kept them down 39-26 and a free throw and put back by Megan Samens finished off the Topper scoring for the night.
Kuehndorf led the Toppers with ten points, Klatt finished with eight, Kadinger added four, Samens had three and both Kopacz and Petersen finished with two. Dachel led the Vikings with 19 points.
“Colfax is known for their three point shooting and they made those big shots in the fourth to break the game open,” coach Kuehndorf said. “We had our chances but it just wasn’t meant to be for us I guess. We had a very successful season after we had several players come back from injuries. Our seniors played a big part in our success and we will miss them.”
Five seniors ended their high school careers including Kristie Knops, Mikaela Voeltz, Kopacz, Kuehndorf and Samens.