By Cara L. Dempski
COLFAX — Home is a source of comfort for many people worldwide.
Which probably makes it a very good thing the Colfax girls’ basketball team played its final two regular-season games on its home court last week.
The Vikings started out with a home contest against non-conference foe Eau Claire Regis last Monday. The Ramblers, coached by Colfax alumni Patrick Boughton, outscored the Colfax squad 24-17 in the opening half February 12, but then fell to a determined group of Vikings 57-52 after the home team grabbed 40 points in the second half.
Colfax closed its regular and conference seasons with a chance for the outright Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship on Thursday, February 15.
The Lady Vikings looked relaxed and focused, and led for much of the game, but fell to the Panthers in the end after Durand’s Megan Baier hit a literal last-second shot for the 49-47 win and the Panthers second straight conference championship.
The 17-5 (12-2 and second in conference) Vikings received a first-round bye in the WIAA Division 4 regional competition, and will face the winner of the February 20 contest between Ladysmith and Webster at home Friday, February 23. The winner of that game will play in the regional final contest February 24.
There were points during the second half of Colfax’s home game against Regis last week where coach Joe Doucette was not sure his team could pull it off.
“(It was) One of those things where it sure did not look good most of the second half,” Doucette’s emailed comments began. “Regis played well, and built a double-digit lead. We hung in there and found a way to climb back into it.”
The Lady Vikings showed a mental toughness and sense of perseverance in the February 12 contest, putting up 40 points in the second half and limiting the Ramblers to just 28 to walk off with a 57-52 win just three nights before settling the matter of this year’s Dunn-St. Croix championship.
Doucette said his team is much more resilient than they were even four weeks ago, a development that pleases him. He was also happy with contributions from players like Kameri Meredith, Savannah Henricks, and Josie Steinke.
“Everybody contributed,” he wrote. “But Kameri Meredith was tough all night. She is playing at a very high level; she is smart and plays both ends. Her basketball IQ keeps growing.”
The Colfax coach said Henricks fought foul trouble to come up with one of the Vikings’ higher scores, and Steinke nailed a pair of huge baskets in the team’s comeback.
Sophomore Addy Olson also grabbed Doucette’s attention when she stepped into Morgan Schleusner’s place after the latter was injured against Mondovi.
“Olson did a nice job in a tough spot,” the coach noted.
Meredith led the team with 23 points, but Henricks added to the score with 14, Emma Hurlburt put up 10, Steinke contributed five, Rachel Scharlau scored four, and Olson dropped in one of two charity throws to total 57.
Teryn Karlstad reeled in 17 points to lead the Ramblers.
EC REGIS 52, COLFAX 57
EC Regis…………………………..24 28 — 52
Colfax………………………………17 40 — 57
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
EC Regis (17-13-23-52) — M. Rohrscheib 1-1-2-3, G. Semerad 0-0-1-0, E. Bourget 0-0-1-0, T. Karstad 5-7-4-17, K. Seyer 6-0-5-15, A. Darge 2-1-3-6, M. Milanowski 0-0-5-0, C. Sabbagh 3-4-2-11.
Colfax (16-21-16-57) — A. Dachel 0-0-1-0, K. Meredith 6-8-1-23, S. Henricks 3-8-4-14, J. Steinke 2-0-2-5, A. Olson 0-1-4-1, R. Scharlau 2-0-0-4, E. Hurlburt 3-4-4-10.
ECR — K. Seyer 3, A. Darge 1, C. Sabbagh 1; C — K. Meredith 3, J. Steinke 1.
Life is often described as a series of moments.
Some of them form fond memories, some bring sadness, and still others define who we are as human beings.
February 15 presented a big moment to the Colfax girls’ basketball team. The home game against Durand was down to its final three seconds with the score knotted up at 47 when the Panthers put up a three-point shot.
The ensuing miss could easily set up overtime, but Durand nabbed a rebound, and Panther Megan Baier flipped the ball up, and into the backboard with barely a second left on the clock.
The ball dropped through as the horn sounded and the backboards lit up to signal a 49-47 win, giving the Panthers a 1-1 split record against Colfax for the season, and their first outright Dunn-St. Croix championship.
Doucette said his team was definitely ready to face the Panthers in the contest.
“We really just came out raring to go,” he began in his post-game comments. “I knew they (the Panthers) were a great team. We’ve played them a lot the last few years, and we know they’re not going to give up.”
The Lady Vikings did not just race out of the gate, the flattened it on their way past, running up a 16-5 lead in the first eight minutes of the matchup. Durand started to fight back and drew within nine points at 8:52 let before halftime, but Colfax continued to employ a heavy press and use turnovers to good effect.
The Panthers put themselves back in the game with just 3:08 left in the opening 18 when junior Sarah Dunbar drilled a three-pointer from the corner to make it a six-point game.
Durand kept hammering away at the Vikings to trail by just 25-24 at halftime, but Colfax did not prove easy to put away. The home team nabbed a five-point lead on a big three from Alyssa Dachel at 13:32, and maintained at least a three-point lead until there was just 2:30 left to play.
Then Panther Emma Hansen drained an arcing three from near the baseline to tie the game up at 45. The Durand squad took their first lead of the game a little over a minute later when Megan Baier hit a field goal to give the Panthers a 47-45 edge with 1:25 to play.
Colfax was able to tie things up at 47 when Savannah Henricks stepped up to the challenge and dropped in a pair of charity throws with 36.7 left.
And, well, you know the rest of the game from there.
Doucette is definitely seeing some of the qualities he was looking for earlier this season now, though, and commented on them after the loss.
“I really like these guys,” he started. “Everybody gets along, and everybody is on one mission: to do the best we can.”
The Colfax coach said it would have been great to win the conference championship, but knows his team is ready to regroup in practice over the next week. He indicated his belief the team can do some damage in this year’s tournament brackets.
Sophomore Kameri Meredith took the Vikings’ top scoring honors in the game with 15 points, while Dachel contributed another 14 to the cause. Henricks hit seven free throws, Emma Hurlburt logged six points, Morgan Schleusner scored three, and Rachel Scharlau added two.
The game’s highest individual score belonged to Durand’s Hansen, who nabbed 18 points in the game.
DURAND 49, COLFAX 47
Durand…………………………….24 25 — 49
Colfax………………………………25 22 — 47
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Durand (14-17-18-49) — S. Baier 3-1-2-8, E. Hansen 4-9-3-18, H. Prissel 0-0-3-0, M. Baier 3-4-4-10, E. Annis 3-1-3-8, S. Dunbar 1-2-3-5.
Colfax (15-11-17-47) — A. Dachel 5-0-1-4, M. Schleusner 1-1-3-3, K. Meredith 5-3-2-15, S. Henricks 0-7-4-7, R. Scharlau 1-0-4-2, E. Hurlburt 3-0-3-6.
D — S. Baier 1, E. Hansen 1, E. Annis 1, S. Dunbar 1; C — A. Dachel 4, K. Meredith 2.