By Cara L. Dempski
COLFAX — The Colfax girls’ basketball team appeared to have used their week-long break between the conference championship game against Durand and opening tournament play wisely.
The Lady Vikings started their tournament run at home Thursday, February 23 in a regional semifinal matchup against Ladysmith’s Lumberjills, and easily handed the visiting team a 64-26 defeat to earn a spot in the regional championship game played at home the following day.
[emember_protected] The home squad handled the game being moved up to 4 p.m. well after the schedule change was made due to an incoming winter storm.
Colfax showed some nerves on their home court at first, but settled in to pick up a 48-34 win over Clear Lake for its second WIAA Division 4 girls’ regional basketball championship in a row.
The Vikings, currently 19-5, will now face Cameron (21-4) in Thursday’s, March 1 sectional semifinal contest at New Richmond High School after the fourth-seeded Comets knocked off the region’s number-one team, St. Croix Falls. The winner of that game will play for the sectional championship, and a state berth, Saturday, March 3 at River Falls.
The Lumberjills might have known they were in trouble when they reached 12 minutes left in the first half of their regional semifinal contest at Colfax and had not scored yet.
Or, maybe it was when the visiting team was down 19-0 with 9:37 still to play in the opening half of the team’s eventual 64-26 loss to the Vikings February 23. The home squad virtually obliterated the Ladysmith ladies to earn a spot in the regional championship game played at Colfax the following afternoon.
The Vikings were quick on the trigger, picking up nine points in the opening six minutes before tacking up another 10 over the next three minutes. The Lumberjills’ Brooke Wiles finally put Ladysmith on the scoreboard at 9:37 with two, which seemed to kickstart some scoring for the visiting team, but still left Ladysmith down 13 points at the half.
Colfax more than tripled the Lumberjills’ second-half scoring efforts, adding another 36 points while Ladysmith could put up just 11 more.
According to the box score, the Vikings were good about sharing the ball and scoring as a team, with Kameri Meredith leading the way with 14 points. Savannah Henricks contributed with 10 points, Alyssa Dachel and Emma Hurlburt each scored nine, Marissa Harmon put up six, Saville Wilson scored five, Jayna Bowe reeled in four, Josie Steinke hit a three-point shot, and Rachel Scharlau and Addy Olson scored two apiece.
LADYSMITH 26, COLFAX 64
Ladysmith…………………………15 11 — 26
Colfax………………………………28 36 — 64
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Colfax (18-16-5-64) — A. Dachel 3-0-1-9, J. Bowe 1-1-1-4, K. Meredith 3-5-1-14, S. Henricks 4-0-0-10, J. Steinke 1-0-0-3, A. Olson 0-2-0-2, S. Wilson 2-1-0-5, M. Harmon 2-0-0-6, R. Scharlau 1-0-1-2, E. Hurlburt 1-7-1-9.
C — A. Dachel 3, J. Bowe 1, K. Meredith 3, S. Henricks 2, J. Steinke 1, M. Harmon 2.
Colfax’s road to the regional championship February 24 was not as smooth as the semifinal game the night before.
If you listened to – and watched – the crowd in red during the game, you would think a number of the bumps for the home squad in the game were due to the officials.
In the end, the Lady Vikings picked up a 48-34 win over the Warriors, and their second regional championship in row, after a hard-fought game on their home court. Head coach Joe Doucette was breathing a small sigh of relief after the contest.
“This was really nice,” he said to open his post-game comments. “That conference title game, we were so close, and Clear Lake is good. They’re a physically good team, very athletic. We just hung in there.”
For all its youth, the Colfax squad showed great poise when it started the matchup trailing throughout the opening minutes. Doucette noted in his comments his young team’s ability to defend is what kept the Vikings in the game.
Colfax was down 7-2 with 9:15 to go in the first half when sophomore Kameri Meredith hit a three-point shot from near the top of the key to cut the Warriors’ lead to two. The Viking struck again about 90 seconds later with a field goal to tie things up at seven with 7:40 to play before halftime.
The Vikings grabbed their first lead on a three-point shot off Alyssa Dachel with 7:10 to go in the half, but Clear Lake was not going to go away so quickly. Warrior sophomore Julianna Rosen drew a foul on Colfax’s Rachel Scharlau and dropped in the back end of a two-shot trip to the line to make it 10-8, and then senior Montana Niles tied things up again at 10 with just 6:13 to go before intermission.
The home team was able to push back out to a 20-16 lead by the time the buzzer sounded on the half, and then maintained it during the opening seven minutes of the second half.
Meredith broke open a seven-point lead with a three-point shot at 11:04 to give the Vikings a 30-23 edge, and then gave the team a nine-point advantage a little over a minute later with an inside shot.
Colfax held steady at seven points ahead of Clear Lake until Savannah Henricks hit a field goal with 4:12 to play to lead by nine again, and then jumped out to a 40-29 lead with 3:41 to play.
Clear Lake pulled back to within eight on a three-pointer from Madison Zimmer with 2:20 left, but then committed multiple fouls over the final 1:26 that allowed Colfax to finish 14 points ahead.
Kameri Meredith copped the game’s highest individual score with 21 points, Dachel and Henricks each scored eight, Morgan Schleusner was good for four, Steinke picked up three, and Scharlau and Hurlburt tied with two apiece.
CLEAR LAKE 34, COLFAX 48
Clear Lake………………………..16 18 — 34
Colfax………………………………20 28 — 48
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Clear Lake (10-13-15-34) — M. Niles 4-2-4-10, M. Rosen 0-2-3-2, J. Rosen 3-4-3-10, Me. Zimmer 0-2-1-2, L. Hacker 1-0-0-2, Ma. Zimmer 2-3-4-8.
Colfax (17-9-16-48) — A. Dachel 2-2-1-8, M. Schleusner 2-0-3-4, K. Meredith 7-5-3-21, S. Henricks 4-0-3-8, J. Steinke 1-0-0-3, A. Olson 0-0-1-0, R. Scharlau 1-0-1-2, E. Hurlburt 0-2-4-2.
CL — Ma. Zimmer 1; C — A. Dachel 2, K. Meredith 2, J. Steinke 1. [/emember_protected]