The Colfax girls’ basketball team started their week off on the right foot with a sound 49-35 victory over St. Croix Central Tuesday at Colfax High School. Their success did not follow them to Hayward, however, as the Hurricanes blew past the Vikings, handing them a 58-21 loss on Thursday.
First on Tuesday, the Vikings began the season on a positive note, showcasing a relentless defensive effort and, along with a steady stream of scoring, breezed past the Panthers.
“I thought defensively we were outstanding against a very good team,” head coach Joe Doucette said Tuesday following the game. “We’ve had some trouble with this team in the past and I think they are favored to win the Middle Border. ... For our first night out, I thought we hung in there pretty well.”
The Vikings jumped out to an 11-0 lead before the Panthers finally put points on the board. Junior Savannah Henricks started her night off well, scoring four points and picked off a pass which resulted in junior Alyssa Dachel’s first 3-pointer of the night. Dachel sank three more 3-pointers in the second half, finishing the game with 12 points.
Junior Emma Hurlburt also had a strong first half, using drives through the lane to add six points for the Vikings. She led the team in scoring with 13 points, finishing the second half with two more 2-pointers and one 3-pointer.
Henricks kept the Panthers guessing the whole game, taking shots from all angles, sinking the ball from the paint, under the net, inside and beyond the arc and also drawing Panther fouls to take to the free throw line. She scored 10 of her 12 total points in the first half and went 3-for-5 at the line. Her defensive presence was also a key factor in the Viking’s victory, collecting 10 grabs, three steals and two turnovers.
Though the Vikings did make a few key mistakes, they managed to make up for them by capitalizing on steals, second and third opportunities and Central’s own mistakes. Doucette noted that mistakes are expected in the first game of any season and that the team will work to learn from those mistakes.
He also added that the team will need to work on conditioning if they want to stay competitive for a full 32 minutes.
“We had some people definitely very very tired, that is something we will need to develop as the season rolls on ... our bench I thought was okay, but will have to get a little more confident.”
Following their season-opening victory, the Vikings traveled to Hayward where they were stunned by a much stronger Hurricane squad who scored more points in the first half than Colfax scored the entire night.
“We were dominated in every phase of the game,” Doucette said. “Their aggressiveness made us back down and it really got away from us.”
He remarked that while they managed to hold Hayward off somewhat defensively in the first half, they were stopped in their tracks on the attack and could not get anything going at all.
Dachel was leading scorer for the Vikings, but was held to just two 3-pointers. Henricks ended the night with five points, Jose Steinke had three points and Saville Wilson and Rachel Scharlau added two points each to the board.
“They [Hayward] may be the best team we play all year ... we have to learn from it,” Doucette said.
“I think we will be very good down the road, but tonight we went into the hornet’s nest and didn’t react well at all.”
The Vikings wrap up the month of November with a game at Hudson Tuesday and return from Thanksgiving break to begin conference play at Boyceville on Tuesday, Dec. 5.