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By Amber Hayden
COLFAX — The Lady Vikings have been tough to beat all season and the start of the 2019 WIAA Girls’ Basketball Tournament was no different.
In their first two contests, both lopsided wins, the Vikings hosted Dunn-St. Croix foe Glenwood City in a regional semifinal contest on Friday evening, February 22, and turned around and welcomed the Cameron Comets the following day, Saturday afternoon, February 23, for the championship game.
In their previous two conference contests against the Hilltoppers, the Lady Vikings won by margins of 30 and 57 points. Last Friday night’s outcome was no different. Much like the last time the two teams meet, Colfax ran to a large lead and instituted a running clock with nine minutes left in the second half as it opened regional play with a 65-21 win over Glenwood City.
Colfax, as the top seed in the upper half of the Eau Claire Memorial girls’ sectional bracket, received a first-round bye.
Cameron came to Colfax for last Saturday’s regional title game searching for redemption and a bit of revenge after the Vikings’ knocked off the Comets 51-49 in a heart-stopping sectional semifinal game a year ago.
But Colfax and in particular, junior Kameri Meredith and senior Savannah Henricks, were not going to allow fourth-seeded Cameron to pull off an upset on the Vikes’ home court. Together, Meredith and Henricks collaborated for 57 points in the Vikings’ 84-59 trouncing of the Comets.
A big first-half performance, which saw Colfax take a 53-26 lead into halftime, helped to give the Vikings their highest scoring game of the season and a third consecutive and fifth D4 regional championship in seven years.
Colfax, now 18-4 on the season, will advance to their third straight sectional tournament this Thursday evening, February 28. They will play St. Croix Falls, champions of the Lakeland West Conference, with an unbeaten mark of 12-0, in a sectional semifinal game at Somerset High School.
The Saints, 21-2, beat Shell Lake and Unity to win their regional and earn a berth in the sectional tournament.
The winner will advance to the sectional championship to be held Saturday night, March 2 at Eau Claire Memorial.
It was another strong showing for the Lady Vikings, but, they quickly found out that the Cameron Comets had come to try and take the Division 4 regional title away from them.
But, with help from Savannah Henricks and Kameri Meredith, who between the pair accounted for over half of the Vikings’ points, finished off the Comets 84-59.
Meredith pocketed 30 points and Henricks added 27 in the 25-point Vikings’ regional championship victory.
“A great win for us, It was fun to watch,” said Colfax head coach Joe Doucette of the Cameron victory. “We are just excited to win and get a chance to play again, we are super happy our fans get to see us play again. It’s great to play at home, we have great support and want to impress them with our hard work and teamwork.”
“We had a ton of respect for Cameron coming in and knew that they could score and have some great shooters,” continued Doucette. “We got off to a fantastic start, that really helped. Everyone saw the ball go in and shooting is contagious.”
Henricks began what would become her 2018-19 season high score with a triple at 17:38 followed by a quick shot from Cameron’s Tori Gerber for two. But Henricks answered right back with two of her own that began a 15-0 run for the Vikings as Henricks and Meredith put on a show of points over the next three minutes.
Savannah Henricks and Kameri Meredith finished up their evening with 57 combines points as the pair had fourteen baskets from inside the paint, six triples and 11 foul shots.
It was a back-and-forth game after that. Colfax’s baskets were quickly answered by the Comets, but it wouldn’t be enough to hold the Vikings down as they put up a big first half with 53 points to just 26 for the visitors.
“I was very impressed, when after our great start, Cameron cut our big lead in half and we never flinched and finished the first half on a big run,” Doucette stated.
Alyssa Dachel accounted for 12 first half points as she was able to, with help from her teammates, find her way outside the arc four separate times and net the ball.
“They (Cameron) had two guards who really can score and Morgan and Alyssa with help did a great job defensively on them,” added Doucette.
The Vikings had 14 players on the hardwood last Saturday evening, with nine of Colfax players scoring.
It was a quiet evening for Rachel Scharlau and Emma Hurlburt, however, as the pair finished with only four points each. Scharlau hit two doubles in the first and Hurlburt went two-of-five from the charity stripe as well as a double.
Cameron did edge out Colfax in second-half scoring, 33-31.
Addisyn Olson was the last player to score for Colfax when she found herself at the line and managed to go two-of-two with 17.5 left on the game clock. Madison Barstad chipped in with a single triple and Saville Wilson and Addy Olson each made a bonus shot.
“Everyone played well but Kameri and Savannah combining for 57 was a great offensive show,” concluded Doucette. “Our other kids passed the ball very well and got them the ball in great spots. We had a ton of assists and moved the ball very well again.”
But the veteran coach knows his Vikings will need similar offensive and defensive contribution when they host St. Croix Falls in this Thursday’s Division 4 sectional semifinal.
“Again, we feel we can play with anybody,” state Doucette. “We will show up Thursday and do the best we can. Right now we’re healthy and playing very well. It would be fun to keep winning especially fro our seniors.”
COLFAX 84, CAMERON 59
Colfax.….………..…..…….53 31 – 84
Cameron….…..….….……26 33 – 59
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Colfax — A. Dachel 4-0-1-12, K. Meredith 10-7-1-30, S. Henricks 10-4-2-27, A. Olson 0-1-2-1, S. Wilson 0-1-1-1, R. Scharlau 2-0-2-4, M. Barstad 1-0-0-3, E. Hurlburt 1-2-1-4.
Cameron — K. Sevals 1-4-3-7, T. Gerber 6-4-3-16, S. Lucus 5-0-4-13, P. Sevals 3-2-1-9, H. Zimmermen 4-5-2-14.
C — A, Dachel 4, K. Meredith 3, S. Henricks 3, M. Barstad ; C — K. Sevals 1, S. Lucus 3, P. Sevals 1, H. Zimmermen 1.
The Vikings started their playoff run with a hot cruise to victory over the Glenwood City Hilltoppers last Friday evening, February 22.
The Vikings secured their third win this season over the Hilltoppers with a 65-21 victory in the regional semifinal.
“I thought we were ready to go,” said head coach Joe Doucette. “Tournament basketball is great, you have to be ready to go or you’re done.”
The Hilltoppers Delanie Fayerweather kicked off the game with a big shot from outside the arc for the first and only lead Glenwood City would have over Colfax.
But Vikings’ senior, Savannah Henricks, didn’t let the score stand long as she sank her only triple of the night. She also added five buckets from underneath to co-lead Colfax with 13 points.
“It was great to see Savannah play great again, she’s done so much for us but this has been a tough year for her,” Doucette explained.
Colfax’s other scoring leader, Alyssa Dachel, came out hot in the first half putting down ten of her 13 points in the first 18 minutes of play. Dachel’s ten, first-half points stemmed from five shots from inside and she then tacked on a single trey in the second half of the contest.
The Vikings had only one turnover in the first half and 15 assists, according to Doucette, to the point of being scary good.
Rachel Scharlau and Madison Barstad combined for 17 points in their tournament openers. Scharlau had three doubles and a triple for nine points, while Barstad hit a pair of threes in the first half and a double in the second that circled the rim like a coin debating if it wanted to drop to finish with eight.
Silence befell the gym as Glenwood City’s Delanie Fayerweather crumpled to the ground holding her knee as the trainer completed an ACL tear protocol.
After Colfax took a 47-14 halftime lead, scoring slowed considerable in the second half. Colfax netted 18 points in the final half while Glenwood City managed just seven.
Three of Colfax’s players put up just a pair of doubles the entire evening against Glenwood City including Kameri Meredith, Jayna Bowe and Emma Hurlburt.
Wrapping up the points for the Vikings were Rachel Knutson and Saville Wilson with a trey a piece and Addisyn Olson and Josie Steinke each put in two points.
“I think we are ready to really take off and play great,” Doucette stated. “With us it all starts with our ability to defend and rebound, if we can do that we always have a chance.”
COLFAX 65, GLENWOOD CITY 21
Colfax.….………..…..…….47 18 – 65
Glenwood City….….……14 7 – 21
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Colfax — A. Dachel 6-0-0-13, J. Bowe 2-0-0-4, K. Meredith 2-0-0-4, S. Henricks 6-0-1-13, J. Steinke 0-2-0-2, R. Knutson 1-0-0-3, S. Wilson 1-0-2-3, A. Olson 1-0-1-2, R. Scharlau 4-0-1-9, M. Barstad 3-0-1-8, E. Hurlburt 2-0-0-4.
Glenwood City — D. Quinn 1-0-0-3, H. Strehlo 1-0-0-2, M. Oehlke 2-3-0-4, D. Fayerweather 2-0-0-5, Y. Mendez 1-0-0-2, K. Strong 1-0-0-2, M. Schutz 1-1-1-3.
C — A. Dachel 1, S. Henricks 1, R. Knutson 1, S. Wilson 1, R. Scharlau 1, M. Barstad 2.; GC — D. Quinn 1, D. Fayerweather 1.