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Defending champ Colfax heads to state

In the early moments of its game against Reardan Thursday, Colfax did not look like a team defending a state title.

But if there were any doubts about the level of experience on the Bulldogs’ roster, those quickly evaporated.

Aiming at a repeat of their 2009 State 2B basketball tournament crown, the Bulldogs (22-3) took a giant step toward accomplishing that goal with a 58-43 drubbing of the Indians (20-5) in the District 7 2B tournament title game at Mt. Spokane HS.

The big turning point came with Colfax trailing 10-7 early in the first quarter.

Kayla Johnson and the rest of the senior-laden Bulldogs embarked on a 22-0 run that ran to the 4:16 mark in the second period.

“I was a little nervous we’d come out a little amped up and press the issue – and we did,” Colfax coach Corey Baerlocher said. “We came out and turned the ball over the first couple of possessions, but we expected it so we didn’t get too excited. … I just think our kids started to get aggressive and get after the ball.”

Johnson led the way for the Bulldogs in the opening half, scoring 13 of her 14 points, while adding four assists and four rebounds. Along with senior Rachel Johnson, who scored eight points with five boards, the Bulldogs adjusted to the pressure by Reardan.

With a 10-point lead in hand by the start of the third quarter, Colfax turned its attention toward stopping Reardan freshman Kelsey Moos.

Moos scored 14 of the Indians’ 21 points in the first half, but she was relegated to just three points after the intermission.

“I told them to execute the game plan, do what we had done all week,” Baerlocher said. “We let her run free a couple of times in the first half. We didn’t hedge off and help and she just went right to the rim. The second half (the girls) came out and executed the game plan and did a good job on her.”

With Moos in check in the second half, the Bulldogs bolted out to an 18-point lead early in the fourth quarter, advancing to the state tournament with the win.

“We’ve had experience with (the postseason), but it’s just exciting, everything about it, to be able to come this far,” Kayla Johnson said.

The Indians will try and advance to state as the No. 2 seed, playing Lind-Ritzville at 6:45 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Spokane.

Lind-Ritzville 31, Northwest Christian 27: Devon Killian led all scorers with 15 points and Andrea Bennett added 11 rebounds as the Broncos (16-11) eliminated the Crusaders (14-13) at Mead High.

The big difference came at the free-throw line. The Broncos shot 57 percent to NWC’s 22 percent, going 4 of 6 from the line in the fourth quarter to hold the lead.