If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
by Marlys Kruger
After a decisive win over Spring Valley February 1, the Colfax girls’ basketball team knew it had at least a tie for the Dunn-St. Croix Conference Championship. With a final conference game at Durand scheduled, the team that was one game behind them in the loss column, they knew a win would give them the outright championship.
They made sure they wouldn’t share the title by beating the Panthers 46-36 in a re-scheduled game played on Saturday, February 6.
First year head coach Courtney Sarauer knew the key to winning the game was to shut down Durand’s three leading scorers – Leah Sabelko, Madisyn Kilboten, and McKenna Hurlburt. Colfax had defeated the Panthers the first time around by 13 points but the Panthers had a six-game winning streak going when this game started.
But, the Vikings were riding their own streak, having won 10 games in a row.
Emilee Burcham-Scofield got the Vikings started with a bucket which was matched by Sebelko. Colfax freshman McKenna Shipman added a free throw but a Durand deuce put them up 4-3. That would be the last time the Panthers would lead however, as Shipman hit from the paint and added a pair of free tosses for an 8-5 lead. Madi Barstad scored from close range, Addisyn Olson hit a free throw, and Barstad canned a triple and another deuce for a 16-8 Colfax advantage.
The Viking’s Jazzy Best canned three free throws and Jill Bowe upped the Colfax lead to 21-13 with a pair of her own free tosses. The Panthers were struggling offensively, getting just one shot off while the Vikings collected the rebound after every miss. Hurlburt did manage to find the basket finally with a pair of short range shots to cut the Colfax lead to 21-17 but Barstad went to the hoop twice for a pair of shots and the Vikings were ahead 25-17 at the break.
The extreme cold weather outside must have made its way into the gym with both teams cold from the shooting department to start the second half. After five empty possessions for the Vikings and four by the Panthers, Shipman took a pass from Burcham-Scofield and scored in the paint. That started an eight-point run with Shipman adding three more buckets in the lane and the Vikings were in control 33-17.
Durand managed to cut the deficit to eight points on a Sabelko triple at 36-28, but deuces by Barstad and Burcham-Scofield along with two free tosses by Jasmine Paulus put the Vikings back up by 13 points at 43-30 with less than two minutes left. Best added three more free throws to put the game away.
“The girls played championship level defense on Saturday,” said Sarauer.
“We held a really great team to 36 points and that’s what we will have to do moving forward into the tournament. We are very excited to be outright conference champs. Hats off to the girls for working so hard up to this point. They really bought into what I was saying and did a great job,” she added.
Shipman led the Vikings with 14 points with Barstad contributing 11 and Best nine. Although the Vikings made just one of eight three-point shots, they were 19-of-32 from the foul line with Best hitting seven-of-10.
Colfax finished conference play with a 13-1 record and are 13-3 overall heading into WIAA Division 4 regional play. After receiving a first round bye they will host Eau Claire Regis this Friday night at 7:00 p.m.
Only one Viking player scored in double figures for the Vikings but 12 other players all finished with some points in the second lopsided win over the Cardinals this season.
Olson drained three triples and a deuce, while Bailey Bradford and Marissa Harmon both had a trey to help Colfax put the game away at the half with a 32-7 lead. Barstad hit a pair of buckets in the second half while Molly Heidorn added four points as did Jenna Goodell, but no other Viking scored more then three points in the half.
“We were fired up to play because we knew with a win we would be conference champs,” coach Sarauer said. “I’m proud of the way our girls have battled to get to this point.”
Olson had a team leading 13 points which included a trio of treys, Barstad and Rylee Parker contributed six points each, Burcham-Scofield and Shipman each had five, Jillian Bowe, Goodell and Heidorn finished with four, while Bradford, Harmon, Paulus and Jeanette Hydukovich all had three, and Best two.