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By Amber Hayden
COLFAX — The Colfax and Elk Mound girls met in the pair’s Dunn-St. Croix Conference basketball opener last Thursday, December 5 in Colfax, and had everyone on the edge of their seats until the final five minutes of the game.
In a tightly-played battle, the host Vikings were able to pull away from their arch-rivals, the Mounders, in the waning minutes of the contest and earned a hard-fought 49-38 victory.
Colfax, now 1-0 in the D-SC and 3-1 overall, is ranked sixth on Wissports.net in Division 4 in the coaches poll. Elk Mound, meanwhile, suffered its first losses of the young season and is 2-1 overall and 0-1 in conference play
“We hung in there and found a way to win a hard-fought game,” said Colfax’s head coach Joe Doucette. “Elk Mound did a great job, Jordan (Kongshaug) and his staff were well prepared.”
Colfax hit the scoreboard first when guard Morgan Schleusner made her way inside the paint to put up a double with 16:09 left on the clock.
But it didn’t take the Mounders long to answer back as Taya Schaefer gave her squad the lead after hitting nothing but net from outside the arc.
The Vikings rallied to retake the lead and build a 9-3 advantage when Colfax’s Jayna Bowe hit a field goal and Taylor Irwin put up a well-timed shot for three.
A foul from Addy Olson sent Taya Schaefer to the line for the first time, where she sank both charity shots, leaving the Mounders down by four with ten minutes left in the first half.
“They took away things we like to do and we had a hard time adjusting,” coach Doucette explained. “To our credit though, we kept trying and made some plays late.”
Elk Mound then went on a 8-point run to take the lead once again as Schaefer hit another trey and was followed a mere 36 seconds later by Isabella Hollister’s two-point bucket that gave the Mounders a two-point lead at 11-9.
Rachel Scharlau knotted the score at 11 with a double from inside the paint.
The score would remain that way for two minutes until the Mounders’ Olivia Schreiber fouled Kameri Meredith who made both free throws to give Colfax the upper hand.
Schreiber fouled again seconds later to send Meredith back to the line where the talented senior tossed in two more foul shots to add to the Colfax lead.
Elk Mound did well in the first half of the game to bottle up Meredith and Scharlau, leaving the Vikings’ duo to take some hard shots that did not always make it to the basket.
However, the Colfax pair ended up leading the Vikings in scoring. Scharlau earned 17 points off five field goals, a trey, four-of-eight from the line to lead all scorers. She also collected eight rebounds. Meredith tallied 13 points for Colfax off three doubles, seven-of-nine from the line, and added a whopping 15 rebounds and three steals.
“They shut me down in the first half, so I had to come out in the second half working harder and looking for more open spots on the floor,” Scharlau explained. “I’ve realized this is our last year for a conference championship and a state run, so we need to work harder.”
Elk Mound center Taya Schaefer would be the shining star for Elk Mound with 13 points to lead the Mounders offensive attack. She hit three triples, a double and was two-of-two from the foul line.
Play went back and forth as Colfax fought to maintain their lead over Elk Mound going into halftime. The Vikings missed several shots as the rebound first went to Kameri Meredith, then Taylor Irwin, Rachel Scharlau, and finally Madison Barstad who then fouled Mounder Sophie Cedarblade on the final rebound, sending Cedarblade to the line for the one-and-one bonus.
Cedarblade brought the Mounders within one point as she made good on both free throws but a big double from Kameri Meredith gave Colfax a 21-18 lead with 2.5 seconds left.
The second 18-minute half started much like the first as Meredith hit a quick two, but it was followed up 26 seconds later by a triple from Sophie Cedarblade.
Cedarblade was hot from the outside as she hit three treys and was two-of-two from the line for Elk Mound.
“I thought Rachel and Kameri showed great resilience,” Doucette explained. “Elk Mound swarmed them and made things tough, but they both made huge plays in the second half.”
Elk Mound’s Olivia Schreiber continued to have foul trouble in second half as she picked up her third foul against Scharlau, who made one of her two shots to give Colfax a 27-24 lead.
The Mounders reclaimed the lead with 12:51 to go after Tori Blaskowski and Taya Schaefer each hit threes and was followed up by Sophie Cedarblade for another three points to make it a 33-29 game in favor of Elk Mound.
“It’s never easy, we were frustrated and reeling but we didn’t give up and beat a good team that was playing at a high level,” Doucette stated.
The game continued to go back-and-forth.
Colfax reclaimed the lead at 6:38 off a trey from Addisyn Olson and a double from Rachel Scharlau.
“Addisyn Olson was a huge spark off the bench,” coach Doucette stated. “Her hustle and fight was just what we needed.”
Brooke Emery gave Elk Mound a one-point advantage, 35-34, after fighting her way inside for the lay-up.
But 14 seconds later, it was the Vikings who were back on top after Kameri Meredith hit another double and was fouled. Although she missed the bonus shot, it was enough for Colfax to take a one-point lead.
Brooke Emery hit a triple after her teammates were able to give her the opening and the Mounders reclaimed the lead.
But Rachel Scharlau hit the bucket for two to tie things up 38-38, and Elk Mound struggled to get to the basket after that.
With 1:01 left in the game Elk Mound’s Taya Schaefer, Hailey Blaskowski, Sophie Cedarblade, and Tori Blaskowski each fouled after getting frustrated when their shot attempts either went wide or short of hitting their target.
Colfax then embarked on a 11-0 run to end the game and secure the 49-38 win.
Elk Mound, who hit ten triples, also got 11 points from Sophie Cedarblade and eight from Brooke Emery.
“Even though we gave up ten threes, I thought our ability to get stops late was a big key also,” said Doucette. “We have to find a way to score against tough, physical defenses. We are a work in progress, and I hope we can learn and grow as the year goes.”
The Colfax team was in Elmwood last evening, Tuesday, December 10, to take on the Wolves of Elmwood/Plum City, and will return home to face Glenwood City this Friday, December 13.
Elk Mound, who beat Baldwin-Woodville December 2, will be home for a pair of games this week. The Mounders hosted Spring Valley Tuesday, December 10 and will welcome Elmwood/Plum City on Friday, December 13.
FG-FT-F-TP: T. Irwin 2-0-0-5, M. Schleusner 1-4-2-6, J. Bowe 1-0-1-2, K. Meredith 3-7-213, A. Olson 2-1-1-6, R. Scharlau 6-4-3-17. Totals 15-16-14-49.
Elk Mound (38)
FG-FT-F-TP: B. Emery 3-0-2-8, I. Hollister 1-0-0-3, T. Blaskowski 1-0-4-3, S. Cedarblade 3-2-1-11, T. Schaefer 4-2-4-13. Totals 12-4-19-38.
Colfax……………………………..21 28 – 49
Elk Mound.………………………18 20 – 38
3-point goals: Colfax: T. Irwin, A. Olson, R. Scharlau; Elk Mound: B. Emery (2), I. Hollister, T. Blaskowski, S. Cedarblade (3), T. Schaefer (3).