Colfax makes St. Croix Central girls basketball ready for a holidayHaving to face the Colfax girls basketball team would make anyone anxious to take a break.
Having to face the Colfax girls basketball team would make anyone anxious to take a break.
The St. Croix Central girls team was certainly ready for its holiday break after facing the mighty Vikings last Friday. Undefeated Colfax put a 55-14 thumping on the Panthers.
The Panthers were weighed down by illness in both of their games last week, including a 42-28 loss against Osceola Tuesday. Seniors Laura DeSmith and Taylor Refsnider missed Tuesday’s game. They returned Friday, but not at full strength. On Friday it was junior guard McKenzy Johnson who was forced to the sidelines by illness.
Being at less than optimal health made the Panthers an easier target for Colfax. The Vikings are ranked fourth in the Division 4 state rankings and are considered the favorite to return to the state tournament from this sectional.
“We didn’t play a terrible game and they beat us that badly,” said Central coach Luke Fritsche. “Our kids played very hard. Nobody understands how hard it is to play (Colfax) except the girls who play against them.”
Fritsche said there were bright spots to the Panthers’ play against Colfax. He said Colfax’s full-court pressure had very little impact and the Panthers were able keep their turnover total below 20, the third straight game in which they’ve accomplished that.
The main difference in the game was shooting accuracy. Colfax has a roster full of girls who can consistently hit shots from the perimeter. With Johnson sidelined, the Panthers were without their best perimeter threat.
“Colfax shot the ball extremely well from the outside. We just didn’t make many shots,” Fritsche said.
A bright spot in both games last week was the play of sophomore guard Brooke Kopacz. She started in place of Johnson on Friday and DeSmith on Tuesday. She led the Panthers in scoring in both games, with eight at Osceola and five against Colfax.
“If she can put points on the board and play good defense, she’ll earn more playing time,” Fritsche said.
Kayla Pabst finished with four points against Colfax, all on free throws, and DeSmith scored three points. The Panthers were 8-11 from the free throw line, their best percentage of the season.
In Tuesday’s game against Osceola, the Panthers put up an excellent fight in the first half. The Panthers went on a charge late in the half, cutting Osceola’s lead to 20-18 at halftime.
Fritsche was hoping the Panthers could continue that rally in the third quarter, but the team’s energy level trailed off through the second half.
“I didn’t feel we should be proud of our second half defense, compared to where we normally play,” Fritsche said.
The Panthers now have a lengthy holiday break before they face Boyceville on Thursday, Jan. 3, to begin the 2013 portion of their schedule. You can guess where the majority of the team’s practice time over the break will be focused.
“We could work two hours a day on our offensive skills, because that’s where we’re deficient,” Fritsche said.