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By Marlys Kruger
After their win over Elk Mound the previous evening (look for that game elsewhere in The Messenger), the Colfax girls held off a second-half run by the Glenwood City Hilltoppers and earned a hard fought 77-53 win on January 26 on the Viking’s home court. They followed that up with a little revenge win at Mondovi, beating the Buffaloes 61-46.
Those wins kept the Vikings in first place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference with an 11-1 record (11-3 overall) with just two more games to play. Colfax will finish out the regular season on the road as it played in Spring Valley Monday evening, February 1 and then in Durand this Thursday, February 4.
Colfax received the second seed in its WIAA Division 4 regional behind Fall Creek, who took the top seed and are ranked #6 in the state’s coaches poll. The Vikings will get a first-round bye and will host the third-seeded Regis Ramblers on Friday, February 12 with the winner moving on to the regional championship on Saturday, February 13.
The Vikings had five players with six or more points in the first half, which they led 40-29.
Addisyn Olson started with a shot under the hoop and Marissa Harmon canned a triple then followed with an end-to-end layup for a 7-6 lead. Madi Barstad hit a short jumper and followed with another deuce, Emilee Burcham-Scofield scored in the paint and Rylee Parker drained the first of two triples in the half to put the Vikings ahead 18-6.
The lead increased to 32-13 over the Hilltoppers with help by a pair of deuces from Burcham-Scofield, treys from Parker and Olson and a Harmon shot from underneath. Leading 38-29 just seconds before the half was about to end, Burcham-Scofield had perfect position in the paint and scored on an offensive rebound as the buzzer sounded for the 11-point Colfax lead.
The Toppers came out and scored just ten seconds into the second half and added another bucket to cut the Colfax lead to 40-34. Harmon dropped in a shot but a pair of Glenwood City free throws kept the lead at six.
Another Topper freebie shortened the Vikings lead to five but Burcham-Scofield found an open McKenna Shipman under the basket for two points. The Toppers were looking pretty confident when they scored in the paint, but Jazzy Best drained a shot from behind the arc for Colfax. Yet again, Glenwood came up with more points, this time a trey and the Vikings were ahead just 48-42.
But from that point on, it was all Colfax as they put the pedal down and scored the next 13 points to make it 61-42. The Vikings team depth wore another team down yet again and they finished off with their highest point total of the season. Once again, it was a solid team defense and balanced scoring that led to a victory.
“Glenwood played us tough but we handled the adversity well,” Colfax coach Courtney Sarauer said. “Their coach, Carly Kittilson, has done a really nice job with her kids. We made some adjustments to our press in the second half and answered their run with quite the run of our own. I was impressed with how our girls really played as a team,” she added.
Six Vikings entered the scorebook with eight or more points with Barstad leading the way at 14. Olson and Best added 10 each, Harmon and Burcham-Scofield chipped in with nine apiece and Parker finished with eight. The Vikings drained six shots from long range and were seven-for-10 from the foul line. Ryeah Oehlke was tops for the Toppers with 18 points.
If not for a ten-point loss to Mondovi way back on December 1 in the Vikings first game of the season, the Colfax girls would be undefeated in conference play. This game was a critical game for the Buffaloes if they wanted to stay in the race since they had three conference losses. But it was also an important game for Colfax with a showdown at Durand next week against the Panthers who are just one game behind the Vikings with a 10-2 record.
The Vikings looked like they were more than ready when they started the game with a 6-0 run. Jasmine Paulus started things off with a free throw, Olson followed by drilling a triple then drove through the lane for a deuce. They upped the lead to 20-5 with help from Burcham-Scofield who seemed to take the game over with ten points on three shots in the lane, one from behind the arc and a free toss to boot. Barstad canned a couple of freebies and hit from underneath in the run before Mondovi hit a triple to break the streak.
But there are a few reasons the Buffaloes have won some big games this season. Their scrappy defense along with a couple of talented players who can score points are a couple of them. They forced the Vikings into several turnovers, and Colfax committed their seventh team foul with 7:02 left in the half. Mondovi went to the foul line five times and canned six free throws which helped cut the Colfax advantage to six points at 26-20. Best scored from close range and added two free throws while Burcham-Scofield hit her own free toss and scored in the paint to give the Vikings a little more comfortable lead at the half, up 35-23.
“We knew they were going to play hard against us with their chance of a conference title on the line,” coach Sarauer said.
Just when it appeared the Vikings were going to coast after Harmon and Barstad both scored from the paint, Mondovi’s Ella Poeschel got a wake up call and knocked down a couple big shots and cut the Viking’s lead to 43-38.
But, Colfax wasn’t about to let this game slip away and Harmon drilled a triple to give them a bigger cushion, and when the Buffaloes again made a push to get to within five points at 48-43, it was Barstad and Shipman combining for three free tosses to counter some of those points.
Burcham-Scofield was still hot and scored on a bucket and the dagger came with around two minutes to play when Olson canned a shot from long range for a 54-43 Colfax lead.
Mondovi needed to foul and send Colfax to the line, and Burcham-Scofield was the lucky recipient of those fouls. She ended up there four times and hit four free throws and Olson finished the game off with her own free toss.
“We had to play through some scoring droughts but we stayed strong on the defensive end,” coach Sarauer said after the win. “Emilee (Burcham-Scofield) stepped up huge for us and was all over the place. I thought Addisyn Olson and Jazzy Best did a great job keeping (point guard) Morgan Clark in check. It was a great win to keep us in first place,” she concluded.
Burcham-Scofield filled up the scorebook and far exceeded her career high with a 24-point effort. Barstad totaled 13, Best added nine and Olson eight. There were plenty of free throws taken by both teams as the Vikings connected on 19-of-29 and the Buffaloes were 19-of-24. Poeschel led Mondovi with 15 points.