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Colton’s girls take first big step toward eighth consecutive State 1B title

Kevin Dudley Correspondent

The Colton Wildcats’ quest for an eighth straight state title got off to a good start in the quarterfinals in the girls State 1B tournament.

The Wildcats used 23 points from Zoe Moser en route to a 68-46 victory over the Almira/Coulee-Hartline Warriors.

Colton will play Sunnyside Christian in the semifinals.

“That was a good win, I thought,” Colton head coach Clark Vining said. “ACH is a quality team. They’ve only lost three games all season. I knew (ACH head coach Mike Correia) would have a game plan for us.”

The Warriors got within five points of the Wildcats thanks to a quick 5-2 run to open the fourth quarter. But Moser took over and scored the game’s next eight points as the Wildcats finished the game on a 19-2 run.

“I was just trying to get my team ahead,” Moser said, adding that her defender was in foul trouble, allowing her to drive the lane and put up high percentage shots.

Moser made 10 of her 27 shots for the game.

“My goal every game is tempo, stance, all that fun stuff,” she said.

Moser had a hot start, scoring 11 of her team’s 17 points in the first quarter.

But Moser went scoreless in the second quarter as the Wildcats were sloppy on offense. Colton still had a comfortable 31-17 lead heading into halftime, thanks to eight points on the last four possessions of the half.

The big lead was largely because of Colton’s defense – namely its signature full court press, which forced ACH into a number of turnovers. The press also forced ACH into brief, hurried possessions.

“That’s the way we’ve played all season,” Vining said. “First half especially, we kind of got going a little bit with the press and our defense usually gets us going.”

Colton forced ACH into 18 turnovers.

ACH threatened in the third quarter and went on an 8-0 run, but Colton’s Dakota Patchen answered with a 3-pointer to maintain her team’s comfortable lead.

“We did a good job of fighting through adversity and kept playing,” Vining said. “(ACH) had it down to single digits there and we didn’t blink. We just kept doing our thing.”

Colton’s Meghan Devorak finished with 12 points. Brenna Oliver’s 18 points paced the Warriors.

Colton finished with seven 3-pointers out of 32 attempts but only made 1 of 18 in the first half. Devorak and Patchen had three 3-pointers apiece.

The Wildcats are shooting for their eighth straight state title. That achievement is not lost on the team, but they know they have one more step to take before competing for a championship.

“It’s definitely our goal, but we don’t overlook what it takes to get there,” Moser said.

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