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By Amber Hayden
COLFAX — The 2018-19 season was a fruitful one for the Colfax Lady Vikings’ basketball team as it finished 19-5 overall and 13-1 in conference to claim a share of the Dunn-St. Croix championship with Durand.
It was the Vikings’ first conference crown since the 2014-15 season when it won the last of several consecutive titles.
Colfax continued to find success in the post season demolishing Glenwood City 65-21 and besting Cameron 84-59 to win the WIAA Division 4 regional title. After edging past St. Croix Falls 55-50 in the sectional semifinal, the Lady Vikes came up short against a talented Melrose-Mindoro squad in the sectional championship for the second straight year, losing 61-32 to the Mustangs.
Veteran head coach Joe Doucette and his returning Colfax seniors have their collective sights set not only on conference and regional championships but on a sectional title. It is likely they will face Melrose-Mindoro once again some time along the way in the 2019-20 post season.
Colfax, however, did lose three of their four-year starters from last season – Alyssa Dachel, Emma Hurlburt, and Savannah Henricks. That trio along with fellow teammates Erica Kallstrom and Rachel Knutson all graduated this past spring.
“All great kids,” said head coach Joe Doucette of the five.
Savannah Henricks earned a career high of 27 points during the 2019 WIAA Regional final against the Cameron Comets. Henricks finished her final hardwood season with 161 points after getting off to a slow start for the Vikings.
One player that will be missed greatly for Colfax is Alyssa Dachel. In her four seasons as a starter for the Vikings, Dachel earned all-conference honors each year and had the ability to play through pain as her ankle was a persistent nuisance during the 2018-19 season.
Dachel ended her four-year career with a .591 free throw percentage average after hitting 91 of her 154 attempts and made 156 three-point shots, outside the arc, in her 510 attempts.
Two-time, all-conference performer Emma Hurlburt was a tough defender for Colfax as she had 99 defensive rebounds and 23 steals in her final season for the Vikings.
There are eight seniors on this year’s roster, seven of which return from the 2018-19 season, that will work toward a state berth for Colfax.
Three-time letter-winner and all-conference performer, Kameri Meredith, makes her way back on to the court for the Vikings after having a huge season in 2018-19 which included a pair of games (Durand and Cameron) in which she scored over 30 points.
Last season, Meredith led the Vikings in scoring in 13 of the team’s 24 games, which includes post season stats. The forward also made no bones about working the defensive end as she led Colfax with 122 defensive rebounds and tallied 186 boards in all during the 2018-19 season.
“Meredith needs 107 points to go over 1,000 in her career,” said coach Doucette.
Also returning for the Vikings are seniors Rachel Scharlau and Morgan Schleusner. Scharlau had 19 blocks over the 2018-19 season and has 37 total over the past three years. Meanwhile, Schleusner led from outside the arc with nine of her 18 attempts swishing through the net and has 19 three-point buckets over the past three seasons.
“Schleusner was all-conference last year and is one of the top defenders in the area,” Doucette explained. “Scharlau had a great summer and will be one of the D-SC’s top players also.”
According to Doucette, Meredith, Schleusner, and Scharlau have been talked to by several colleges hoping to land the prized recruits.
Sophomore Madison Barstad, who saw varsity action a year ago, will become a starter for Colfax in 2019-20. Barstad posted a .467 two-point percentage and a total of 93 points in her first season of varsity play.
Taylor Irwin will make her return to the court after taking her sophomore and junior years off, and it is Doucette’s belief that she is very talented.
Juniors Jasmin Paulus and Ryleigh Parker along with sophomores Jasmine Best, Emilee Burcham-Scofield, and Jillian Bowe will all fight for minutes after playing on the undefeated junior varsity team last season.
Doucette stated that the strength for the Lady Vikes will be in their returners who all had a great summer. The depth of the athletes, the ability to defend well, and the chemistry – everybody gets along great – will all be big assets for the this year’s squad according to the coach.
The weaknesses will be the need to fill the shoes of Dachel, Henricks, and Hurlburt, scoring against tougher defenses, size, and being more resilient and persistent on offense when things get tough, Doucette said.
“The Lady Vikes will continue to work hard as the season goes on and to represent the community in a hard-working, classy way,” said Doucette.
The schools that will be on the Vikings’ radar for this upcoming conference season are Durand, Elk Mound, Mondovi, and Boyceville.
Doucette is starting his 30th year at Colfax and holds a record of 618-139 overall and 570-118 in conference.
Colfax began their season last evening, Tuesday, November 19, in Hudson and will have its home opener this Thursday, November 22, with a game against Eau Claire Regis. The Vikings will play Bloomer at home next Tuesday, November 26, before the start of the Thanksgiving break.
Seniors: Jayna Bowe, Taylor Irwin, Kameri Meredith, Addy Olson, Rachel Scharlau, Morgan Schleusner, Josie Steinke, and Saville Wilson.
Juniors: Bailey Bradford, Marissa Harmon, Abbie Irwin, Addisyn Olson, Ryleigh Parker, and Jasmine Paulus.
Sophomores: Madison Barstad, Jasmine Best, Jillian Bowe, Emilee Burcham-Scofield, Jenna Goodell, Aliyah Rihn, Mariah Smith, and Catherine Zons.
Freshmen: Macie Harvey, Molly Heidorn, Paige Jensen, Aynsley Olson, and Ella Peterson.