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by Marlys Kruger
It’s been a long time since the Mondovi girls’ basketball team has claimed a win over Colfax, but with the help of ten three-point shots and some aggressive defense, the Buffaloes ruined new coach Courtney Sarauers coaching debut with a 60-50 win on the Vikings’ home court December 2.
It didn’t take long, however, for Sarauer to get that first win as her team bounced back two days later and trounced Elmwood/Plum City 74-49, again on their home court. Both games were conference games.
The Colfax girls don’t play again until this Friday, December 11 when they head to Glenwood City followed by another road game at Eau Claire Regis on Monday, December 14. The Vikings’ game against rival Elk Mound, which was originally slated for this past Monday, December 7, has been moved to January 25 in Elk Mound.
Local fans may remember the last time Colfax lost to Mondovi was in a regional final in 2014, a year after the Vikings brought home the silver ball from the state tournament. But the Vikings have had the Buffaloes number since then, including a pair of wins in their undefeated conference season a year ago.
With all the players wearing masks due to the Covid-19 problem, Madison Barstad started the 2020-21 season off for the Vikings with a bucket and a free throw. Marissa Harmon drained a three-point shot and Addisyn Olson sank three free throws for a 9-5 Colfax lead.
With the game tied at 14-14, Abigail Irwin came up with a steal and a bucket to put Colfax up but Mondovi used a free throw and their third triple of the game to go up 18-15. McKenna Shipman scored from short range for Colfax to knot things up again but the Buffaloes continued to answer each time.
Tied at 20-20, Barstad hit three of four free tosses, but the Vikings defense was a step behind the speedy Buffaloes, resulting in fouls that sent them to the free throw line. Three different Buffalo players connected for five free tosses and it was 25-23 in Mondovi’s favor at the intermission.
Just 10 seconds into the second half, Mondovi drained a triple to up their lead to five. But the Vikings used a five-point run on a Barstad free throw, a short jumper by Jasmine Paulus off her own steal, and Bailey Bradford’s put back to give Colfax the lead back at 29-28. It was short lived, however, as Mondovi knocked down another three ball, added a free throw and drained another triple for a 35-29 advantage.
Jillian Bowe hit a three pointer for Colfax and added a free toss which was followed by Barstad’s bucket from the paint and the Vikings were back to just a two-point deficit down 37-35. But timing is everything and another Buffalo triple upped their lead again.
Shipman scored from under the hoop as did Barstad on an in-bounds pass to get Colfax to within a point, and Mondovi responded again with another long ball. Emilee Burcham-Schofield dropped in one of two free throws for the Vikings and another Mondovi triple made it 46-40 in their favor with around seven minutes to go.
Barstad connected from long range which, of course, was matched by Mondovi and they pulled out to a 10-point lead at 53-43.
Another Barstad free toss combined with three pointers by Burcham-Schofield and Harmon got the Vikings to within striking range, down 56-50 with 1:11 left on the clock. Several three-point attempts were off the mark and Mondovi hung on for the win.
Barstad led Colfax with 16 points, Harmon added eight, Burcham-Schofield finished with six and Shipman and Bowe each had five. Mondovi played without their starting guard Morgan Clark and were led by Josie Hulke with 17 points. As a team, Colfax shot 12-of-22 from the free throw line.
“I was proud of the way we fought to the end but the outcome wasn’t what we had hoped for,” coach Sarauer said. “Hats off to Mondovi because they were able to make a lot of shots. We missed 10 free throws and didn’t shoot very well from the floor. We’re still finding our identity a little bit after losing eight seniors from last year, including five starters and our four leading scorers,” she added.
Like most of the teams in the conference this year, the Wolves are much improved, but the Vikings came out with a purpose and jumped out to a 40-17 halftime lead.
“The girls played really well from the start,” Sarauer said. “We brought a ton of energy and the Wolves didn’t really know what hit them.”
Olson added to the lead with a bucket to begin the second half before the Wolves went on a nine-point run to cut the Colfax lead to 42-26. Olson broke the run with another deuce, then added a pair of free throws, and with a trio of triples, the first by Barstad and the next two from Harmon, the Vikings opened up a 59-33 lead.
Barstad added two more free tosses, Burcham-Scofield scored on a drive through the lane, Irwin canned a long ball and tacked on a free throw and it was 67-37. After another short run by the Wolves, Shipman hit from close range and fellow freshman Jeanette Hydukovich scored from the paint to make it 71-49. Aliyah Rihn knocked down a free toss and Hydukovich put the finishing touches on the victory with a bucket.
“I thought Madison Barstad really stepped up with her defensive assignment against Maggie Glaus and she was also a huge contributor on the offensive end as well,” Sarauer said. “We are excited to get a win as we head into our third game of the week,” she added.
11 different Vikings scored in the game, led by Barstad’s 17. Burcham-Scofield and Shipman each had nine while Olson and Harmon both added eight and Irwin and Paulus tacked on six apiece. The Vikings were 11-of-20 from the foul line and knocked down nine treys in the game.
Glaus scored 15 points to lead the Wolves.