In dad’s footsteps: Colie Justice heading to UWRF where her father Steve Justice played

Published 8:25 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

It’s been more than 30 years since Austin grad Steve Justice was dishing out assists for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls men’s basketball team and now his daughter, Austin senior Colie, is going to take her game to her father’s alma mater.

Colie recently made her verbal commitment to play basketball at UWRF, although her decision is based much more on the school’s revamped athletic facilities and first-year head coach Blake DuDonis than Steve’s accomplishments.

“Ironically, it didn’t have anything to do with my dad. Maybe, deep down, he wanted me to go there but he didn’t push me to go there. It was actually my idea,” Colie said. “I wanted to visit their because they have a new athletic facility and a new coach. You can tell (DuDonis) wants to know you more as a person and he wants to be there for you off the court. I really like it there.”

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Steve Justice, who played on the 1981 and 1982 Austin teams that went to state, played for the Falcons from 1983-87 and ranks 18th in school history with 176 career assists.

Colie also has a chance to play in two state tournaments as she was on the Packer team that advanced to state last winter. She plays point guard just like Steve and she averaged 11.9 points, 2.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.

Austin Colie Justice races the ball up the court in the first half against Northfield in the Section 1AAA championship. Herald File Photo

While she was hampered by a knee injury that caused her to miss her sophomore season, Colie has always had her heart set on playing college basketball.

“It’s a big commitment, but I knew for sure that I wanted to keep going after high school,” Colie said. “It’s nice knowing that after being a Packer, I’ll be a Falcon. I don’t want it to be done too soon here, but it’s nice to know I’ll have (UWRF) after this.”

Austin head coach Eric Zoske said that Colie has put in all of the offseason work to put her in position to play at the next level.

“She leads in the offseason. She does a great job of coming to the open gyms and the weight room sessions,” Zoske said. “She’s shown the girls around her the dedication it takes to be a good basketball player and now she’s getting the rewards of going on to be a college basketball player.“

Colie is already preparing herself to compete at the next level. Instead of competing in a fall sport, she focused on crossfit training and she has noticed the impact of those workouts.

“I can already tell that I’ve gotten a lot stronger, just running up the floor and getting boards,” Colie said. “Physicality can always improve and I also need to work on a tighter handle (on the basketball). I can always improve with my left hand as well.”

Austin will open its season at Rochester Century at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21. Austin’s home opener will be against Albert Lea at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 3.

The UWRF women’s basketball team is off to a 1-1 overall start to its season.