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By Amber Hayden
COLFAX — After the holiday break, the Colfax girls’ basketball team seemed sluggish on the floor and relied on their bench to get them through the first half of the non-conference contest against the Ladysmith Lumberjills.
Leading by just a point at the intermission, the Lady Vikings were able to pull away from a strong Ladysmith squad to post a 50-38 win in the Thursday, January 2 game. With the victory, Colfax moved to 8-1 overall and is 4-0 in the Dunn-St. Croix where it shares the lead with Durand.
Colfax remained sixth in the state coach’s poll in Division 4 on Wissports.net with LaCrosse Aquinas and Melrose-Mindoro still holding the top two spots.
“We could not put everything together (in the first half),” said Colfax head coach Joe Doucette of the Vikings’ first game of 2020. “I thought we were much better, and much tougher in the second half.”
The Vikings got the first points of Thursday evening’s victory when Madison Barstad hit the rim for two with 14 seconds ticked off the clock. Barstad had only six points all evening as she went two-of-two from the charity stripe and had a pair of doubles.
The Lumberjills relied on their ability to hit nothing but net from outside the paint as they put up their 21 first-half points off of seven shots, one of which put Ladysmith in the lead early in the game when Raemalee Smith sunk a trey.
Colfax went on a point run, 10-2, to reclaim the lead, which started with a double and two foul shots from lead scorer Rachel Scharlau. Scharlau had a total of 12 points stemming from three field goals and she was six of eight from the line.
“We struggled offensively in the first half and Ladysmith shot the ball early,” Doucette said. “I thought we showed some good qualities to hang in there and find a way to win.”
Ladysmith took the lead for the final time in the first half when Kamie Silva found an open spot from the outside to make the score 21-20.
But with 21.9 left in the half, Kameri Meredith put in two points off of a rebound from Morgan Schleusner, who had fallen to the ground as she went for the lay-up, to give the lead back to Colfax by one point, 22-21, at the break.
Schleusner came to life in the opening minutes of the second half as she was the first player to earn any points. She hit a lone free throw and a trey. Schleusner had a total of six points all evening with that triple, and was three-of-four from the line.
Ladysmith joined the growing trend of teams to take shots from the three-point range, but it was not enough to take the lead away from Colfax as they were outscored in the second half 17-28.
“I thought our ability to defend was key until we found some ways to score in the second half,” explained Doucette. “We missed a lot of pretty good shots early, but were able to get more offense inside and shot some.”
Kameri Meredith had a little trouble passing the ball in the second half as she went to get the ball to teammates Rachel Scharlau and Taylor Irwin, only to have them go out of bounds. Meredith wrapped up her night with four doubles for eight points.
Also scoring for the Vikings were Taylor Irwin with eight points off two triples and a double, Marissa Harmon and Josie Steinke both with a triple, and Addisyn Olson with a triple and was one-of-two from the line.
The Lady Vikes traveled to Clear Lake last night, Tuesday, January 7, for a non-conference contest against the Lady Warriors who are ranked second in the state’s Division 5 poll. Colfax will resume conference play on Thursday, January 9, in Durand against the Panthers in hopes of a win and sole possession of first place in the D-SC. The Vikes will then host Boyceville next Tuesday, January 14.
FG-FT-F-TP: T. Irwin 3-0-0-8, M. Schleusner 1-3-2-6, K. Meredith 4-0-3-8, M. Harmon 1-0-0-3, J. Steinke 1-0-0-3, M. Barstad 2-2-0-6, A. Olson 1-1-0-4, R. Scharlau 3-6-1-12. Totals 16-12-6-50.
FG-FT-F-TP: H. Rands 3-0-2-7, B. Wiles 2-0-3-4, E. Egle 3-0-1-7, R. Smith 2-0-5-5, E. Dieckman 2-1-0-6, K. Silva 3-0-1-9. Total 15-1-17-38.
Colfax 22 28 – 50
Ladysmith 21 17 – 38
3-point goals: Colfax: T. Irwin (2), M. Schleusner, M. Harmon, J. Steinke, A. Olson; Ladysmith: H. Rands, E. Egle, R. Smith, E. Dieckman, K. Silva (3).