Bulldogs scrap

Team balance boosts slow-starting Colfax

The girls State 2B basketball tournament got off to an ominous start for Colfax.

The defending champions missed their first 14 shots. None was taken by reigning MVP Kayla Johnson, who was on the bench after picking up two fouls in the second minute of the game.

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, it took DeSales just as long to get untracked. Once Johnson settled in, Colfax pulled away for a 65-48 win Wednesday evening at the Arena.

“We have people off the bench we can rotate in,” said senior post Kayleigh Maltone, who scored 14 points, more than twice her average, and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

“You’re always concerned … this is a player (Johnson) we need on the court a majority of the time,” Colfax coach Corey Baerlocher said. “But I never put it on one kid, I never have. … We played a lot of kids throughout the season, go deep into the bench. That builds confidence in the team that we have kids that will step up and fill that gap. It builds confidence in Kayla that she doesn’t have to score all night every night.”

Colfax (23-3) plays Wahkiakum (18-7), a 63-45 winner over Orcas Island, tonight at 7:30 in the third quarterfinal game.

Even though the Bulldogs had trouble finding the range, they had no trouble from the foul line. They hit 14 of 16 in the first half, including eight in the first 4 minutes of the game. Six were by Maltone – who was missing layups but dominating the boards – for an 8-1 lead.

“Sometimes we’re off, sometimes we’re on,” Maltone said. “I was just playing my game. We were really nervous.”

DeSales got the first basket with 1:43 left in the first quarter on a three-point play by Caitlin Duncan that made it 8-4. Colfax scored on an inbounds play at the 21-second mark for an 11-7 lead.

But while the Bulldogs were just 1 of 16 in the first quarter, DeSales was 2 of 7 and just 3 of 8 from the line.

“Coming into this, it was the same thing we said going into the district championship,” Baerlocher said. “We’re going to make some errors, because there’s just so much energy. We said after the first quarter we can’t shoot any worse.”

Johnson entered the game and immediately made a difference, hitting 4 of 9 shots. A 3-pointer by Brittney Burke made it 27-17 with 2:42 left in the half and started a 7-0 spurt for a 31-17 lead.

Duncan was the story for DeSales. She scored the final three points of the half, giving her 13. After missing two of her first four free throws, she ended up making 13 straight and finished with a tournament-high 31 points.

Colfax was 8 of 31 from the field but had 24 rebounds to 13 for DeSales, which also had 11 turnovers. The Irish shot just 4 of 16 but ended up 12 of 18 from the line as the teams combined for 35 fouls and 34 free throws.

Johnson picked up her third foul just 30 seconds into the third quarter but was unflappable. She scored seven points as the Bulldogs led by as many as 17 before taking a 51-36 lead into the fourth quarter.

Colfax did not get to the line in the second half but shot 50 percent to finish at 37.7 percent. Johnson finished with 17 points and eight rebounds but was supported by Maltone and two reserves – Burke, who hit two 3-pointers, and Hannah Harazine, with nine points and eight rebounds, five on the offensive end.

“It felt good to get the first one in,” Maltone said. “Hopefully, we’ll be here Saturday night, but we play them one at a time.”

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