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by Marlys Kruger
Both Colfax and Elk Mound were coming off lopsided wins when they faced off in Colfax January 15. The Vikings won big, 75-24, over Spring Valley three days earlier while the Mounders picked up a 55-31 victory over Boyceville that same night.
This may have had everyone thinking this contest could be a high scoring shootout, but defense and low shooting percentages by both teams resulted in a 47-35 win by the Vikings.
Both teams started the night with just one loss in Dunn-St. Croix Conference play, along with Durand and Mondovi. But just 24 hours later, the Mounders traveled to Mondovi and bounced back with a 40-33 win over the Buffaloes, leaving just Colfax and Durand with a single loss in the conference.
The Vikings, now 6-1 in the Dunn-St. Croix and 6-3 overall, have a busy schedule with five games in a nine-day span that began with a home contest against Boyceville this past Monday, January 18. They then take to the road for three straight starting in Elmwood against the Elmwood/Plum City Wolves this Thursday, January 21, followed by a non-conference tilt at Ellsworth Saturday, January 23, before going to Elk Mound next Monday, January 25, for a regular season rematch. Colfax will finally return home Tuesday, January 26, to host Glenwood City.
Things don’t get any easier for the Mounders, 5-2 and 5-5, as they were scheduled to play Durand Monday, January 18, to start a four-game home stand. Spring Valley will be in Elk Mound on Thursday, January 21, and after Monday’s showdown with Colfax, the Mounders will welcome Elmwood/Plum City the following evening, January 26.
With Elk Mound’s Tori Blaskowski leading the conference in scoring average at a 14.3 points per game clip and the Viking’s Madi Barstad close behind at 14.0, their respective coaches knew the key to a win was to hold those players down. Colfax did their part by keeping Blaskowski scoreless in the first half and allowed her to finish with just seven points in the contest. Barstad, on the other hand, started off hot and finished with 18 points in the game.
Barstad scored the first five points for the Vikings but the Mounders had an answer when Stella Rhude canned three short-range buckets. Addisyn Olson drained a triple, and Rylee Parker knocked down a free toss. Emilee Burcham-Scofield scored from the paint and Jasmine Paulus took a slick pass from Barstad for two more and a 13-6 Viking lead.
Each team came up with several empty possessions in the next few minutes, mostly on missed shots, before Olivia Schreiber hit a free toss for the Mounders. That was countered by Barstad’s second trey, however. After Madison Mohr hit from underneath for Elk Mound, the Vikings countered again as McKenna Shipman canned a pair of free throws to give Colfax an 18-9 lead.
Burcham-Scofield scored on a put back and Rhude matched those points with two free tosses. Jazzy Best drove the lane for a Colfax bucket and Schreiber matched those points with her own shot from close range. Those would be the final points of the half for both teams and the Vikings carried a 22-13 lead into the intermission.
“We know Blaskowski is the heart and soul of the Mounders team,” Colfax coach Courtney Sarauer said. “We had to mix things up on defense to stop her. We played great defense most of the game, holding them to under 40 points which showed a great effort by our team. Madi had a great start for us. She is a super smart player and is not afraid to shoot or pass the ball. Overall, we didn’t shoot very well tonight. We had a lot of shots rim out or bounce out.”
After Marissa Harmon drained a triple for the Vikings, Barstad scored on a bucket which upped the lead to 27-13. Elk Mound came up with a six-point run when Rhude scored from underneath, Blaskowski hit a free throw and Isabella Hollister connected from behind the arc, cutting the Colfax lead to 27-19. But, that was as close as the Mounders would get after Barstad and Best hit back-to-back triples to increase the lead.
Blaskowski tried to drive through the lane several times, but the stifling Colfax defense continued to shut her down. She finally broke through and scored and Rhude followed with a pair of buckets to make it 37-26 with around 10 minutes to go.
Both teams went cold from the shooting department for a few minutes before Burcham-Scofield hit a pair of free tosses for a 39-26 lead.
Colfax committed their seventh team foul with seven minutes left, allowing Rhude to go to the foul line three times. She ended up knocking down two-of five but Olson scored from the line twice and Burcham-Scofield added a bucket to up the Viking’s lead to 43-28. The Mounder’s final points came on Blaskowski’s three point bank shot and Barstad added a final free throw for Colfax.
“Scoring can be a struggle for us at times,” Mounders coach Jordan Kongshaug said after the loss. “We had a nice stretch of defense in the second half and brought the score closer, we just couldn’t get over the hump. We’ll see them in another week and hope for a better result,” he added.
Rhude matched Barstad with 18 points to lead the Mounders while Blaskowski added seven. Along with Barstad’s 18 points, Burcham-Scofield and Best both had eight for the Vikings. Colfax shot 13-of-17 from the foul line while hitting six triples, and the Mounders went seven-for-13 in free throws with just two long balls.
Colfax plucks Spring Valley
11 players put points on the board for the Vikings including Bailey Bradford and Best who had game highs and career highs with 12 points each.
Colfax set the tone early, scoring the first 13 points of the game before the Cardinals finally broke their string with a bucket. With help by several free throws by Olson and a trey each by Barstad, Bradford, Harmon, and Parker the game was put away by the midpoint of the first half when the Vikings went up 37-6. After a triple by Jasmine Paulus and two more free tosses from Olson, it was 45-10 at the break.
“The girls came ready to play right from the start,” coach Sarauer said. “We really moved the ball well and went from a good shot to a great shot.”
The Vikings continued their scoring binge in the second half which included a pair of triples by Best, Harmon’s third of the contest and a couple of close up shots from Shipman. Jeanette Hydukovich finished off the scoring with three consecutive shots in the paint in the last couple of minutes.
Six different Vikings drained three point shots including Bradford, Harmon, Best, and Barstad with two apiece and Paulus and Parker one each. Colfax was 15-of-18 at the free throw line with Olson knocking down seven-of-eight while Best was six-of-eight.
“It was another great team win moving into Friday’s game against Elk Mound,” Sarauer said of her team’s 75-24 victory.
Elk Mound bites Boyceville
The Mounders employed their pressing defense the first half, forcing plenty of turnovers by the Bulldogs and they took full advantage, outscoring Boyceville 31-14. Mohr scored nine of those points which included a pair of triples, Stella Rhude added eight points with a four-for-four performance at the foul line and Blaskowski added five points.
Blaskowski tacked on seven more points in the second half to finish with 12 for the game but Mohr, who canned her third trey of the game, led the Mounders with 14. Stella Rhude added 12 to go with seven by Schreiber in Elk Mound’s 55-31 win.
Elk Mound went eight-for-16 at the foul line while the Bulldogs were nine-for 10.
Elk Mound beats Mondovi
It was a short night for the Lady Mounders after the Colfax loss as they traveled to Mondovi for a Saturday evening contest.
Elk Mound held a 24-13 advantage at the break and held off the Buffaloes to seal the 40-33 win.
Blaskowski came back with an 18 point performance to lead Elk Mound while Brooke Emery added eight and Rhude five. Ella Poeschel led Mondovi with 10 points.
Elk Mound struggled at the free throw line, making 10-of-23 shots.
“We did a great job on the defensive end and were able to jump out early,” coach Kongshaug said. “Mondovi made a run at us in the second half but we were able to make enough plays down the stretch to get a big win.”