SPOKANE - The little engines called the DeSales Irish thought they could climb over the multiple 6-foot tall mountains on the frontline of Class 2B state tournament first-round opponent Colfax Wednesday.
But whenever it seemed the diminutive Irish had conquered one, another giant appeared to pull down second chances for the Bulldogs and squelch Irish board opportunities.
In the end, DeSales didn't have the height or depth to keep up with defending state champion Colfax, and fell 65-48 at the Spokane Arena.
DeSales fell into a loser-out contest with Orcas Island at 12:30 p.m. today, while the victory propelled Colfax into a second-round matchup with Wahkiakum, a 63-45 winner over Orcas Island.
The Bulldogs outrebounded DeSales 45-24 for the game and 25-11 on the offensive glass.
"They're a good team," DeSales coach Tim Duncan said. "They've got good size, they've got good guards. They're state-championship-caliber. Just look at all they've won in the last six years."
DeSales' Caitlin Duncan went to work early on Colfax's primary scoring threat, Kayla Johnson, sidelining the senior who averages 15.5 points per game with two fouls at the 6:23 mark of the first quarter.
Without Johnson, 6-foot-1 post Kayleigh Maltone picked up the slack for the Bulldogs. Corralling six rebounds in the first four minutes, including four on the offensive glass, Maltone scored six consecutive foul shots to pace Colfax to an early 8-1 lead. After a DeSales timeout, the Irish turned the lopsided board battle around, with a quarter-ending 6-2 glass-cleaning advantage to close the lead to 11-7 at the first intermission.
The Irish closed to within two, 13-11, at the 6:35 mark of the second period thanks to 4-of-6 foul shooting by Caitlin Duncan and Annie Higgins.
But with Kayla Johnson back on the court, the Bulldogs blitzkrieged DeSales 17-4 over the next five minutes to briefly grab a 14-point lead.
Colfax led 31-20 at the half.
DeSales threatened one last time - at the onset of the third quarter - with a 7-2 run showcased by two Duncan free throws, a Duncan jumper and a Higgins 3-bomb that brought the Irish within six points, 33-27.
But Colfax put the game away with an 11-0 run over the next two minutes. Colfax's biggest lead of the night was 21, which occurred late in the fourth quarter.
"That game was a lot closer than the final score," coach Duncan said. "We just didn't have enough horses to get it done.
"I'm proud of all our kids," he said. "I told them, ‘You've got nothing to hang your heads about.'"
"The score at the end of the game doesn't reflect the battle that went on today," Colfax coach Corey Baerlocher said. "They gave us everything we could handle and then some. I was kind of nervous during the first half-hour of the game - which direction it was going to go. We got into foul trouble and when that happens your rotations change and we were lucky that our bench kids stepped up."
Caitlin Duncan led the Irish in scoring and rebounds, registering a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double. The next highest DeSales scorer was freshman Ali Zander, who tallied seven.
"Our coach told us that if we shot 40 percent and put the pressure on them defensively, we could stay with them, but it was still going to be a 10-point ballgame," Zander said. "He said if we shot really well, then it would be really close and we would have a chance to beat them."
"When we called timeout early, my dad, the coach, said, ‘You're all right, just keep competing and you'll be fine,'" Caitlin Duncan said. "We just worked really hard blocking out after that. We blocked out hard and kept competing to stay in the game. Defensively, in the second half, we kind of fell apart. They got a few easy transition baskets, and we just couldn't really get back in the game."
Kayla Johnson's 17 points led the Colfax effort, followed by Maltone's 14 points and 11 boards.
"I guess they've got some pretty big girls," Zander said of Orcas Island. "But if we play like we played today, we'll be fine."
DESALES (48) - Konen 0-0 0-0 0, Higgins 1-8 1-2 4, Acock 0-0 0-0 0, Duncan 7-16 15-17 31, Giusti 0-5 1-2 1, Blanc 0-0 2-5 2, Majerus 0-2 0-0 0, Hansen 0-0 0-0 0, Zander 2-6 3-4 7, Ferrel 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 11-39 22-30 48.
COLFAX (65) - Bruya 0-1 1-2 1, Webber 0-2 0-0 0, Harazin 4-11 0-0 9, Hall 0-1 0-0 0, R. Johnson 1-5 4-4 6, K. Johnson 8-17 0-0 17, Simonson 1-1 0-0 2, Elkins 0-0 0-0 0, Burke 2-7 0-0 6, Shaw 2-6 1-2 6, Maltone 4-8 6-6 14, Skelton 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 23-61 14-16 65.
DeSales 7 13 16 12 - 48
Colfax 11 20 20 14 - 65
3-point goals - DeS 4-18 (Higgins 1-7, Duncan 2-7, Zander 0-2, Ferrel 1-2), Col 5-20 (Harazin 1-6, Hall 0-1, R. Johnson 0-1, K. Johnson 1-3, Burke 2-7, Shaw 1-1, Maltone 0-1). Total fouls - DeS 12, Col 27. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - DeS 24 (Duncan 10), Col 45 (Maltone 11). Turnovers - DeS 16, Col 12. Steals - DeS 5 (Duncan 2), Col 11. Assists - DeS 0, Col 5 (Webber 2).