Their 12-point lead had evaporated and their top scorer was on the bench with four fouls.
So the Colfax girls did what they always do: win a state championship.
Junior Amara Huber scored a game-high 17 points and sophomore Scout Cai added 11 as Colfax (24-6) claimed its eighth state title in 13 years by turning back previously undefeated Toutle Lake 45-38 on Saturday to cap the State 2B tournament at the Arena.
The Bulldogs, who missed the last three state tournaments, never scored more than 49 points during their three games this week, but they held opponents to an average of 31 points per game.
“I’ve literally been waiting for this for four years, ever since I was the team manager for the team that won in 2010,” said senior Nicole Sheer, who was Colfax’s offensive star in the first two games.
Colfax kept the Ducks (25-1) from winning their first state title. They did so by clamping down on sophomore guard Samantha Woodley, who scored 30 points in Friday’s semifinal but was held to 10 on 3-for-15 shooting from the floor in the title game.
“We lost (Woodley) a couple of times and she made us pay, but for the most part our kids knew where she was,” said Corey Baerlocher, the coach during every Bulldogs title year except 2002.
Colfax stormed ahead 12-0 and held the Ducks without a field goal for more than 7 minutes.
Huber scored 14 first-half points as the Bulldogs took a 24-20 lead into halftime.
“The first two games (Huber) struggled with the atmosphere and her feet were bothering her … but she came out and had a phenomenal game today,” Baerlocher said.
Toutle Lake held the Bulldogs scoreless for more than 6 minutes in the second half and took its first lead, 30-28, on Bailey Hockett’s basket 20 seconds into the fourth quarter.
The scoring drought occurred as Sheer sat on the bench after picking up a blocking foul with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
“I think we got a little bit nervous (on Sheer’s fourth foul), but our bench is so deep that we have plenty of players who can fill in for a spot, if need be,” Huber said.
The Ducks took their final lead on another Hockett basket with 6:25 left, but Colfax responded with a 7-0 run for a 38-32 lead with 4:50 left. Senior Bailey Mackleit provided the key play, rebounding her missed free throw and hitting a layup.
Huber and Cai combined to hit 9 of 14 from the field while the rest of the Bulldogs were 5 of 21.
“Especially coming back from three years of not being at state, it feels good to finally come out and win,” Cai said.