Green Bay (WQOW) -- The 38th-annual WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament tips off Thursday at the Resch Center in Green Bay. In division four, Colfax makes the program's third trip to state, and the first since 2008.
The Resch Center has been home to the WIAA state girls volleyball tournament since 2002. Thursday will mark the first time in 38 years that the girls state basketball tournament is somewhere other than Madison. After losing in a 2011 regional final and a 2012 sectional semifinal, the Vikings don't care where the 2013 state tournament is held.
"We want to make history this year and we've been talking about it all year. We're very happy with making it to state, obviously, but we want a ball. We want to go home with a ball," says senior guard Hannah Hover.
"We are very pumped for it and we're not just happy with going to state," adds junior forward Braana Steen. "If we go down there and lose it will be a disappointment to us. We really want to win and do something that a Colfax girls basketball team has never done."
Colfax has yet to win a game in two previous trips to the WIAA state girls basketball tournament. For the Vikings to beat The Prairie School on Thursday, Colfax has to control Hawks junior guard Gabbi Ortiz, who was being recruited by Division 1 college programs even before she joined the varsity team.
"We want to make her work at both ends and we just really want to test her with everything we got," says head coach Joe Doucette. "We're going to try to play the best defense we can on her, and that's going to be great team defense with a lot of help. And we want to make her work on the defensive end and see what kind of defender she is. But from what I've heard, she's one of the best around and she's going to make some plays. We're going to have to tip our hat to her a few times but we'll see what happens."
Ortiz averages 21 points per game and the Vikings have spent extra time in practice focusing on how to stop the Hawks dynamic player. But the Vikings defense is a team concept. Colfax has held 23 of its opponents this season to under 40 points.
"We take pride in our defense at Colfax. And for the most part, we're going to stick to what we do," says Hover.
"I don't think most teams are used to our team defense, it's kind of a shock because it's just not as easy for them," adds senior forward Ryleigh Prochnow.
Offensively, Colfax will look to continue its balanced approach. All five starters average between four and 12 points per game.
"We've been known to take good shots and we're always really unselfish," says junior guard Mallie Doucette. "We always look for the open player and we're going to run it down until the time runs out if we don't get a shot right away. If we slow them down, I think that will help tremendously."
The Vikings will face The Prairie School in a state semifinal, Thursday, at around 8:15 p.m. Sports Director Bob Bradovich will be on the call.
Another local team looks to return to Western Wisconsin with a state title. In division three, Neillsville takes on East Troy on Friday around 10:30 a.m. You can watch the entire tournament live on WQOW 18, online at www.wqow.com, or on your mobile device.
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