Three Vikings end high school basketball careers

COLFAX — There were plenty of high points and a few low points for the Colfax boys’ basketball team the past few years, and three players who began their varsity careers as sophomores were part of a pretty productive three years for the Vikings.

Seniors Lane Olson, Cody Zivcic and Joe Wahl all finished off their high school playing days with two conference championships, three regional championships and a sectional championship. The team’s record in those three years was an overall 66-13. After ending their sophomore season by losing a sectional final game to Grantsburg, the team defeated Boyceville in the sectional final their junior year to move on to the state tournament for the first time since 1978. With a target on their back throughout their senior year, things didn’t go as smooth as anticipated, and although they didn’t win the conference title, they came up with one of their best performances of the year in a regional final win over Elk Mound, then ended their season with a disappointing loss to Unity.

Olson missed several games at the start of this season due to a foot injury, and sat out a few more after injuring his ankle in the Regis game in early December. He still managed to average 8.6 points a game and pull down 125 rebounds for a 6.3 average and blocked 37 shots. His high game was 18 points against McDonell Central and he was named second team All Conference for his efforts this year. His most productive season came as a junior when he led the Vikings to a 24-3 record and a trip to Madison. Olson averaged 13.3 points, blocked 77 shots, grabbed 263 rebounds for a 9.7 average per game and collected 29 steals. He scored 26 points in a game against Plum City and grabbed 21 rebounds against Spring Valley. He also turned some heads when he scored 16 points and snared 13 rebounds in the state tournament game against Whitefish Bay Dominican, a private school who went on to win the state championship. He was named first team All Conference, first team All State and first team All Northwest to culminate his season. Totals for his three seasons of varsity in 70 games include 611 points for an 8.7 average, 488 rebounds with 202 on the offensive side and an average of 7.0 a game, 147 blocks, 56 steals and 39 assists. He made 261 of 505 shots from the floor for 51.7% and was 87 of 154 from the foul line for 56.5%. He put the fans on their feet many a time with his big slam dunks.

“Lane meant the world to our program,” coach Andy Meade said. “He struggled with injuries this year which robbed him of his ability to be explosive so he physically couldn’t make the plays he used to. He worked so hard, but he needs a couple of months rest and I think he will be back to his old, explosive self. He is certainly the best athlete I have ever coached,” he added. Olson is hoping to continue to compete somewhere at the collegiate level.

Zivcic played in 68 games over three seasons and made his presence known all over the court with his highest totals coming this year. He scored 347 of his 500 total points as a senior for a 13.9 average and shot 36.2% from three point land on 47 of 130 attempts. He knocked down 48 of 63 free throws for 76.2%, picked up 39 assists, 39 steals and eight blocks. His high game was a 30 pointer against Plum City to start the season, but nobody will forget the 21 point game he had against Elk Mound in the regional championship where he canned five triples to lead the Vikings to a win. He was chosen to the All Conference second team as a senior. Zivcic’s three year totals include 500 points, 214 rebounds, 56 assists and 52 steals. Overall he shot 40.2% from the field on 176 of 438 shots and connected on 77 of 249 three pointers for 31.3%. He was 71 of 96 from the charity stripe for 74.7%.

“Cody improved tremendously from his freshman year to his senior year,” Meade said. “He is a great kid who turned into a very good basketball player. He led us in scoring this year and hit some big shots in big games. He was a streaky shooter who was very tough when he got hot. He’s a wonderful kid who I will miss being around.”

Wahl came off the bench and played in 35 games for the Vikings. In 20 games as a senior, he scored 43 points with a high game of eight against Plum City. He shot 36% from the field on 17 of 47 attempts, went 10 for 16 from the foul line for 62%, collected 51 rebounds and added five assists, four steals and two blocked shots. His three year totals include 56 points, 63 rebounds, seven assists and six steals.

“Joe came to practice every day ready to go to work,” Meade said. “He gave us some very valuable minutes this year and was also greatly improved. He was a great teammate which is really the highest compliment a basketball player can be given. He will be missed by me as well as the program,” he concluded.