Vikings begin regional play with win over Hornets

COLFAX — With hopes of making a return trip to the Kohl Center, the Colfax boys had to come from behind on their home court and outscored the Cadott Hornets 44-29 in the second half to earn a 65-53 win in the regional semi-final game Feb. 22.

The Hornets finished as the runners up in the Western Cloverbelt Conference and came into Viking Land with a 19-4 record. Colfax had been struggling as of late and had lost two games in a row and were looking to right their ship. It certainly wasn’t smooth sailing for them early on as they fell behind 17-11 after a quarter of play  when the Hornets connected on four triples from three different players.

The Vikings fell behind even further, down 21-11 before Cody Zivcic scored on a drive and things were not looking up for them  when Zivcic went down with an injury a few minutes later. But Ethin Kiekhaher took control of the game as he hit a free throw then canned a pair of shots from behind the arc, the second one at the buzzer to get the Vikings back to four points at 24-20.at the break.

“Those shots from Ethin were huge,” Colfax coach Andy Meade said. “That brought us from being down by 11 points to just four.”

Jacob Meyer opened the third quarter with a trey to put the Hornets back up by seven but the Vikings had had enough and went to their inside game against the smaller team. They went on an 11 point run starting with a bucket by Sawyer DeMoe, a three ball from Jarrod Rudi, the tying basket from Zivcic, and the go ahead shots on back to back deuces by Lane Olson for a 31-27 lead. Cadott was launching shots from way behind the three point circle but none were hitting the mark, and with a shot from Zivcic in the lane, Colfax took a 34-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

Buckets by DeMoe, Kiekhafer, Zivcic and DeMoe again gave the Vikings some breathing room, up 42-31 and the Hornets were still sending the ball up from long range and not connecting. After they committed their seventh team foul with four minutes left, Kiekhafer and company took over from the charity stripe Kiekhafer started what would turn into 12 of 12 shooting from the line just by himself with a pair after Cadott had gotten back to within eight points. In the double bonus with three minutes left, Olson, Zivcic and DeMoe all hit a single free throw and Zivcic added two more as did Kiekhafer and Ben Kragness, and Jeremiah Wait finished the game off hitting 1 of 2. All told,Colfax hit 26 of 38 freebies in the game and were 23 of 31 in the fourth quarter.

“We made an effort to get the ball inside more in the second half,” Meade said. “Our defense played very well and we held their leading scorer (Austin Poehls) to 13 points. It helped being in the double bonus because it took some pressure off missing the first shot. But we have been in close games many times and our guys stepped up tonight.”

Kiekhafer ended his night with 23 points, including 13 of 14 free throws and Zivcic added 15 points to go with 12 by DeMoe.

COLFAX (65) Kiekhafer 4-13-14-23, Zivcic 6-3-5-15, DeMoe 4-4-7-12, Olson 3-3-5-9, Rudi 1-0-0-3, Kragness 0-2-4-2, Wait 0-1-3-1

CADOTT (53) Poehls 4-4-5-13, A. Kyes 4-2-2-10, B. McChesney 3-2-2-10, Meyer 3-0-0-9, J. Spindler 1-4-6-6, A. Krouse 1-0-0-3, B. Kyes 0-2-4-2

THREE POINTERS: Meyer 3, Kiekhafer 2, McChesney 2, Rudi 1, Poehls 1, Krause 1