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By Amber Hayden
DURAND – With weather still playing a factor, the Colfax ladies sat idle for much of last week after their twice-postponed game against Mondovi had to be rescheduled to this Saturday, February 16, at 2:30 p.m. In Mondovi.
That meant more than a week between games with few practices as the eighth-ranked Lady Vikings headed into the much anticipated showdown against the ninth-ranked Panthers this past Friday evening in Durand.
A victory would have given Colfax a commanding two-game lead and likely this year’s outright Dunn-St. Croix championship as the regular season headed into its final week.
Instead, the Vikings, who got off to a slow start but only trailed by four points at half of the February 8 game, saw the Panthers pounce in the second half. Durand lit the nets over the final 18 minutes of play, outscoring Colfax 45-29 to take a 21-point, 67-46 victory.
The loss, Colfax’s first in Dunn-St. Croix action this season, allowed Durand to pull into a tie for the conference lead. Both teams are now 11-1 in league play. Colfax is 14-4 overall and Durand is 16-2.
The Panthers took the lead early in the first half before the Vikings’ finally put points on the board as Emma Hurlburt sank a bucket four minutes into the game to end what would be the first of many scoring runs for Durand.
Hurlburt finished her evening with ten points, along with Kameri Meredith, who finished with a dozen, led the Vikings in scoring.
“We had a slow start but I really thought we weathered the storm and we were in great shape down four at halftime,” said Colfax head coach Joe Doucette. “But Durand came out and really took it to us in the second half. They shot the ball great and got us spread out then they got to the rim.”
Following a 69-57 road loss to the Vikings back on January 8, the Panthers were charged up and much more intense for the all important rematch as they battled to grab a share of the Dunn-St. Croix lead.
Coach Doucette called the first of Colfax’s time outs with eight minutes off the clock and the Vikings down by 12, with the hope of sparking a fire inside his Vikings’ players. After the time out, Colfax came out and attempted to mount a comeback.
Kameri Meredith and Morgan Schleusner scrapped for every point they could muster as Schleusner ended an 8-0 Durand run with three points and Meredith was sent to the line for two, to bring the Vikings within four points.
But the defense and offense of Durand proved to be too much for Colfax.
“We thought we had an advantage inside but we just could not pass the ball well enough to take advantage,” Doucette explained. “We had a great chance to grab complete control of the conference race but did not play well enough or match their heart and effort.
The Vikings had a small opportunity in the second half when Durand had a series of turnovers and missed shots. But Colfax was unable to capitalize and take the lead.
Durand’s Leah Sabelko ended the Vikings only scoring run with a single shot from the charity stripe.
Rachel Scharlau hit two to bring Colfax within one point. But that is as close as the Vikings would get all evening. Scharlau went on to finish her evening with six points off three buckets from inside the paint.
“We have some leadership and some good practices to win those next two, I still think we are very capable of making a great run late in the year,” Doucette stated.
Alyssa Dachel also tallied six points in the losing effort, Josie Steinke added a trey and bonus shot, and Madison Barstad contributed a double and triple.
With the weather playing a factor the Colfax Vikings have canceled their game against Ladysmith, scheduled for this past Monday, February 11, but welcomed Clear Lake to the court last evening, Tuesday, February 12. The Vikings will wrap up their regular and conference seasons with road games against Boyceville this Thursday, February 14 and Mondovi on Saturday, February 16.
Colfax earned the number-one seed in the top-half bracket of the WIAA Division 4 Eau Claire Sectional and will have a bye in next Tuesday’s, February 19, regional quarterfinal round. The Lady Vikings will host the winner between #8 Glenwood City and #9 Grantsburg in the Friday, February 22 semifinal. The regional final will be the next day on the highest remaining seeds home court. Colfax will host the sectional semifinal on Thursday, February 28.
COLFAX 46, DURAND 67
Colfax..………………17 29 – 46
Durand.….….….…….21 45 – 67
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Colfax — A. Dachel 2-2-4-6, M. Schleusner 1-0-1-3, K. Meredith 4-3-2-12, J. Steinke 1-1-0-4, R. Scharlau 3-0-1-6, M. Barstad 2-0-0-5, E. Hurlburt 5-0-3-10.
Durand — J. Hayden 2-2-2-8, E. Hansen 3-3-3-11, H. Prissel 4-0-2-9, L. Sebelko 1-1-0-3, B. Polzer 1-0-2-3, E. Annis 8-3-1-19, S. Dunbar 3-1-3-10, M. Hurlburt 1-1-0-3.
C — M. Schleusner 1, K. Meredith 1, J. Steinke 1, M. Barstad 1; D — J. Hayden 2, E. Hansen 2, H. Prissel 1, B. Polzer 1, S. Dunbar 3.