Irritating, like a fly that won’t go away.
That’s the best way to describe the Colton defense.
The Wildcats’ relentless, swarming pressure frustrated Columbia of Hunters and made their fourth straight State 1B girls basketball championship mostly a formality.
Colton’s 30th straight win was a 55-47 smothering of the Lions late Saturday night at the Arena, a game made closer by a late surge.
Just as irritating was Moser, but which one? Senior Haley and sophomore Jenna combined for seven 3-pointers, the high-arching, draw-rain, barely-tickle-the-net kind.
They had five in the first half, and 26 points, as the Wildcats raced to a 35-19 lead over the Lions (28-2), whose only other loss was to 2B champion Reardan.
“It was a goal I never thought we would accomplish,” Haley Moser said, who joked that she should come back as a super senior to get one for the thumb. “They’re all great.
“There’s a lot of pressure in a state championship but I think our team did a great job of handling it. The whole game everyone stepped up. It was really fun.”
And just when Columbia had a glimmer of hope, with six quick points in the third quarter to get within 13, Erin Weber and Paige Vincent drained 3s to restore order.
“We had a lot of nerves at the beginning and didn’t handle their pressure,” Columbia coach Mindy Flett said. “Once we calmed down we played better.”
Columbia hasn’t done bad, with four trophies in four appearances and improved on their previous past two third-place finishes. The Lions won a State B title in 1986, when they had a three-year run of trophies.
But Colton is even more amazing. Now, with six 1B seasons in the books, the Wildcats have second- and third-place trophies to go with the four golden balls. They had never been to state before the streak.
“It doesn’t get old at all,” Colton coach Clark Vining said. “It’s something you don’t see every day, four rings in four years. I keep telling them how lucky they really are and not to take it for granted. It’s incredible.”
The Lions got into foul trouble quickly with Kirsta Colvin and Lindsday Loe getting three apiece and Elizabeth Larrew two. Flett gambled and only sat Loe.
Equally distressing was the 12 turnovers and 35 percent shooting. They finished with 22 turnovers but the fouls made it impossible to foul down the stretch.
“We moved the ball well, ran the floor well, knock down a few shots and mixed in a little defense,” Vining said.
Haley Moser finished with 21 points. Her sister added 15.
“We all play equal roles on the team,” Jenna Moser said. “No one is better than anyone else. We have great chemistry and play real well. Everyone has their moments they step up.”
Loe had 21 points, 17 in the second half, to lead Columbia. Mackenzie Parrow added 17, but they were the only two of the four starters who average at least 15 points to get into double figures.
“They have four really good players,” Vining said. “Their size gives teams a lot of trouble inside, and their point guard is really good. Once we got the game going up and down a little bit in our favor it was definitely an advantage for us.”