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By Marlys Kruger
ELK MOUND — For the second time in ten days, the Colfax girls used a strong second half to defeat their neighboring opponents the Elk Mound Mounders 54-38.
The road win allowed the Vikings to keep their hold on first place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference girls’ basketball race with just one loss. Elk Mound now has three losses in conference play. Since the teams are in different divisions for playoffs, they won’t face each other again this year.
The first half was played pretty evenly for the most part. McKenna Shipman nailed a trey to put Colfax up 7-5 but Stella Rhude knotted it at 7-7 with a spin move in the paint. Colfax went on a nine-point run starting with Madi Barstad’s triple, followed by Jazzy Best’s steal and layup, Abby Irwin’s short jumper, and Rylee Parker’s put back for a 16-7 Vikings’ lead.
Tori Blaskowski stopped the bleeding with a free throw for the Mounders and Rhude scored on a pair of drives through the lane, then stole a Colfax pass under the basket and hit again to shorten the Vikings lead to 19-15.
But Colfax responded with a long ball by Bailey Bradford, and after Isabella Hollister knocked down a pair of free tosses for the Mounders, Shipman and Addisyn Olson both scored in the paint to up the Vikings’ lead to 26-17.
The Mounders had a run of four points when Olivia Schreiber and Lydia Levra both found the hoop from close range but Shipman responded with a put back for a 28-21 Colfax advantage. It was punch and counter punch for the final two minutes when Kalle Rhude got into the scoring action with a deuce for the Mounders, and Emilee Burcham-Scofield dropped in a bucket for the Vikings. Levra then drove through the paint for two points, and Best put the Vikings up 32-25 at the break with her own driving layup.
“We moved the ball well the first half, but we needed to make some adjustments and we made them too late,” Elk Mound coach Jordan Kongshaug said. “We didn’t guard them very well and they are a good shooting team and they played very well.”
Stella Rhude did her best to keep the Mounders in the game with an end-to-end drive but Olson canned a triple, Jasmine Paulus scored from under the hoop and Bradford drained her second long ball for a 40-29 Colfax advantage.
Blaskowski drilled a three-point shot to cut the lead but six points by the Vikings including four by Barstad and two from Olson increased the lead to 46-32. From that point on, Colfax began to pull away, using their team depth to wear the Mounders down.
Stella Rhude led the Mounders in scoring with 16 with Blaskowski contributing nine points. The Mounders struggled again at the charity stripe going 11-for-21 and made just one triple all game.
Colfax had balanced scoring with Barstad scoring 13 points, Olson 10, Bradford eight and Shipman seven. The team converted five-of-seven free throws and five three-point shots.
“I was impressed with our ability to adjust to some changes Elk Mound made,” Colfax coach Courtney Sarauer said. “They were throwing all kinds of defenses at us and our girls handled it really well. We made some adjustments at half time and our girls stepped up their defense. Holding them to 13 points in the half was huge for us,” she added.