COLFAX — There’s no unfamiliarity with these two.
Durand and Colfax were playing in their ninth matchup since Durand joined the Dunn-St. Croix four seasons ago. There has been no shortage of highlights: Three years ago Colfax knocked Durand out of the playoffs, and Durand won at the buzzer for the D-SC title last season.
With both entering the night unbeaten in the Dunn-St. Croix, Tuesday’s matchup certainly didn’t lose much luster.
This time it was Colfax who got the last laugh, riding Kameri Meredith’s 30 points to a 69-57 win and handing the Panthers their first loss of the season.
Colfax took over first place in the conference with the win.
From the off both teams returned blows with the lead changing four times in the first 90 seconds before Colfax was able to build a 14-8 lead after a Madison Barstad shot. But Colfax coach Joe Doucette knew Durand would be resilient.
“Ever since they’ve joined the Dunn-St Croix they’ve been tough, hard nosed kids they never give up,” he said.
After Colfax stretched their lead to six, the Panthers’ big three of Hannah Prissel, Emma Hansen and Emily Annis combined for eight of Durand’s next 10 points as part of a 10-2 run to bring the game’s fourth lead change and give Durand a 18-16 lead with 6:14 left in the half.
For the rest of the half no team led by more than five points. The lead changed hands three times in the last 36 seconds before Annis made a layup to give Durand the 31-30 halftime lead
The lead would not last long as Alyssa Dachel scored on the Vikings’ first possession and Colfax had a one-point lead — and the game had its ninth lead change.
From there the Panthers’ Sarah Dunbar, Hansen and McKenna Hurtlburt went on a 10-2 run to give the Panthers their largest lead of the game at 41-34.
Enter Meredith. The junior went on a personal 6-0 run to tie the game for the sixth time.
“She’s just tough,” said Doucette. “She’s a matchup nightmare because she can go outside-inside. ... Without her it would’ve been tough to win.”
Even after that run, Durand had quick answers with Annis and Madisyn Kilboten shots. But Meredith was just warming up. The junior forward scored Colfax’s next 12 points after Dachel had two free throws, including a three pointer which gave the game its 14th and final lead change with 6:22 to go.
After scoring just 6 points in the first half Meredith knew she had give the Vikings a spark.
“I just felt like I had to pick it up for my team,” she said.
Meredith’s 30 points — 24 of which came in the second half — were the game’s highest total.
Meredith and Morgan Schleusner made their free throws down the stretch and the ninth-ranked Vikings left the floor with a win over the fourth-ranked Panthers.
The loss snapped a 24-game road winning streak for the Panthers dating back to December of 2016. It also marked Durand’s first loss of the season. The Panthers are now tied with Elk Mound for second place in the conference. The two square off on Friday.
The win gave Meredith and Schleusner their first home win over Durand as Colfax hadn’t beaten Durand in three seasons, but for Meredith she knew it was a bigger win for her seniors.
“We we all trying to do it for our seniors because.. they haven’t won conference for them yet,” said Meredith.
With Colfax’s second-half comeback, the team leading at halftime has now lost six games when leading at half.
“We’ve thought if we could hang in there.” said Doucette. “They took that lead, we were able to not lose our poise.”
Colfax 69, Durand 57
Durand (9-1): Emma Hansen 19, Emily Annis 14, Sarah Dunbar 8, Hannah Prissel 8, Madisyn Kilbaten 4, Leah Sabelko 2, McKenna Hurlburt 2.
Colfax (9-2): Kameri Meredith 30, Alyssa Dachel 9, Madison Barstad 8, Morgan Schleusner 8, Rachel Scharlau 7, Emma Hurlburt 6 Jayna Bowe 3, Josie Stanke 2.
3-pointers: Durand (Hansen 4, Dunbar), Colfax 5 (Meredith 3, Bowe, Dachel).
Halftime score: Durand 31-30.