During the coldest week of the winter (so far), the Colfax boys basketball team hit the road for a pair of games including a non-conference game at Fall Creek Jan. 21 and a conference game at Boyceville Jan. 24. Although Fall Creek is the only undefeated team in the Western Cloverbelt Conference at 10-0, the Vikings came from five points down in the third quarter to take a 55-44 win, then in what was probably the most bizarre game the Vikings have been involved with in many years, they used free throws in the fourth quarter to sneak past the Bulldogs 24-20. (That’s not a mis-print, folks!)
The game was “a very physical contest and a great test for the team,” according to Colfax coach Andy Meade. The Vikings held a 13-7 advantage in the scorebook after a quarter of play but the Crickets came back to outscore them 19-12 in the second stanza, leaving the Vikings down by a point at 26-25 at the intermission.
The Crickets started the third quarter with four quick points for a five point lead before the Vikings went on a 13-2 run as Lane Olson put a slam down and Ethin Kiekhafer canned a three pointer to knot the score at 30-30. Sawyer DeMoe hit a pair of close range shots and Olson and Ben Kragness each added a basket, allowing Colfax to take a 38-32 lead in to the fourth quarter.
Olson scored on a 13 footer and DeMoe was controlling the defensive boards as he pulled down his ninth rebound of the game after the Crickets missed a shot on their next possession. Fall Creek’s Kyle Nelson hit a pair of free tosses to cut the Colfax lead to eight points again, but after Cody Zivcic missed a couple of free tosses for Colfax, the defense did their part by forcing the Crickets into their eighth turnover of the game. Zivcic then drove for a bucket for a 42-34 lead, but the Crickets refused to go down easy as Braden Walbeck drained a triple. Kiekhafer came up with a big bucket, but again, another triple, this time from Will Tweed cut the Colfax lead to four at 44-40 with just under two minutes left. Kiekhafer stayed hot as he hit the first of two free tosses, then came up with a steal and scored on a lay up to give his team some breathing room up 47-40. The game was put away at the free throw line as Zivcic hit six straight and Kiekhafer hit two more.
“Fall Creek is a very talented senior laden team and our younger guys were not intimidated by them,” Meade said. “We had great leadership from Olson, Kiekhafer and Zivcic and their examples really helped the younger players step up. It was a great team effort.”
Three Vikings scored in double digits with Zivcic leading the way with 17 points while DeMoe collected 13 and Kiekhafer 12. The team was 10 for 14 at the free throw line while Fall Creek was 9 for 15. DeMoe and Kragness held the Crickets leading scorer Braxton Meyer to just 12 points.
COLFAX (55) Zivcic 5-6-8-17, DeMoe 6-1-2-13, Kiekhafer 4-3-4-12, Olson 4-0-0-8, J. Rudi 1-0-0-3, Kragness 1-0-0-2
FALL CREEK (44) Tweed 4-2-2-12, Nelson 3-4-8-10, Meyer 3-3-5-10, M. Anderson 2-0-0-4, C. Haldeman 1-0-0-3, T. Stanek 1-0-0-3, Walbeck 1-0-0-3,
THREE POINTERS: Tweed 2, Rudi 1, Zivcic 1, Kiekhafer 1, Halseman 1, Stanek 1, Walbeck 1
It didn’t take long to see what Boyceville’s coach Jay Lagerstrom had for a game plan if he wanted to pull off an upset over the Vikings. After Colfax defeated them the first time around 62-41 back in early December, Lagerstom decided the best way to keep the Vikings from scoring this time was to not let them shoot the ball. Passing the ball for spans of four minutes throughout the game certainly did the trick as it forced the Vikings to play a lot of defense. But the Vikings were just as patient as the Bulldogs and managed to score enough points to earn the win.
Zivcic and Olson scored the lone points in the first quarter with a bucket each while the Bulldogs were held to zilch. Things picked up a bit in the second stanza as Kiekhafer picked up five points and DeMoe added three on a free toss and a deuce to go with Rudi’s trey for a 15-6 halftime lead.
A mere three points was scored by Colfax in the third quarter on a long ball from Kiekhafer while Boyceville came up with eight and the lead was cut to four at 18-14 heading into the final eight minutes.
“I’m sure the game was about as much fun to watch as paint drying,” Lagerstrom said. “It’s not my usual style of play but I knew if the ball was in our hands, they couldn’t score.”
With both teams coming up with six fourth quarter points, the game was won at the free throw line yet again as Zivcic knocked down four of five and DeMoe went two for two.
“Boyceville came out and executed their game plan very well,” Meade said. “They were patient and took pretty good care of the ball. We had to play a lot of defense and I thought we did a pretty good job of it. It was a tough win but we’ll take it.”
Kiekhafer led the Vikings with eight points and the team was 7 for 11 at the foul line while the Bulldogs were 5 for 9.
COLFAX (24) Kiekhafer 3-0-0-8, Zivcic 1-4-5-6, DeMoe 1-3-4-5, Rudi 1-0-0-3, Olson 1-0-0-2
BOYCEVILLE (20) B. Schutts 2-4-6-9, J. Kuhn 2-0-0-6, Mi. Leach 1-1-3-3, M. Lagerstrom 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: Kiekhafer 2, Kuhn 2, Rudi 1, Schutts 1