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EM boys alone at the top of conference with win over Colfax

ELK MOUND — It may have turned out to be the only game of the week for both teams due to cancellations from cold weather, but it was a mighty important one when Colfax entered the Elk Mound gym Jan. 10. Neither team had a conference loss but in the end, it was the Mounders who remained that way as they used their depth on both ends of the court to take a 59-42 win in front of a standing room only crowd.

 With their two leading scorers both being held under their average, Elk Mound had seven players score six or more points to aid in the win. The Vikings also saw their two top scorers held under their average but had 37 of their total points scored by only three players.

Elk Mound took a quick 4-0 lead on two free throws from Zac Doll and put back from Dexter Curry before Jeremiah Wait scored what turned out to be his only points of the game on a drive through the lane for Colfax. Logan Strom then hit from underneath and followed up with a layup after a Mounder steal for an 8-2 lead but Sawyer DeMoe and Jared Rudi closed the gap for Colfax with buckets from close range. Dane Lew hit a pair of free tosses for a 10-6 Mounder lead and the DeMoe-Rudi duo came through again as they both knocked down a deuce for a 10-10 tie. But Hunter Kohls nailed a triple for a 13-10 Mounder lead and a stuff by Curry on the defensive end on a Colfax shooter gave the Mounders the ball with 45 seconds left in the quarter. They let a big scoring chance slip away when the Viking’s defense kept them away from the hoop and they missed a three pointer at the buzzer.

After a Rudi deuce brought Colfax back to within a point, Curry scored from the paint then blocked another shot on the other end. Kohls nailed another trey from the corner for an 18-12 Mounder lead, Strom found Curry under the hoop for two more points and Austin Hanson added a deuce to up the Mounder lead to 22-13. Using a press most of the quarter, the Mounders forced some turnovers but were also a little too aggressive as they committed their tenth foul with 2:28 left in the half while the Vikings were whistled for just four at this point. Ethin Kiekhafer knocked down a free throw while DeMoe added two to cut the Mounder lead to 23-16. The Mounders had the ball with 58 seconds left and didn’t waste their shot this time as Kohls drained his third three ball for a 26-16 lead at the break.

“We fouled way too much and never got into a good rhythm the first half,” Elk Mound coach Chris Hahn said.” Hunter hit those three pointers when we really needed them.”

Travis Nelson drilled a triple just 10 seconds into the third quarter to increase the Mounder lead to 13 before DeMoe scored from the paint again. Kohls knew where his range was this game as he knocked down another trey and Strom followed suit on the Mounders next possession with one of his own for what looked like an early dagger as the lead went to 35-19. Curry added two free tosses and a little hook shot with a Rudi deuce in between and Rudi was fouled on a three point attempt and sank one of three freebies but the Mounders were still up 39-23. Kiekhafer then drove the lane for a bucket and added a free throw as Curry was called for his third foul on the play. Dane Lew dropped in a free throw for the Mounders but Kiekhafer drilled a three from the top of the key which was countered again, this time by Lew’s triple. Kiekhafer went right at Curry again and drew another foul, sending Curry to the bench with just under two minutes left in the quarter. It was also the seventh team foul on Elk Mound as Kiekhafer hit one of two free shots, but the Vikings committed their seventh team foul late in the quarter and Adam Gottschalk put the Mounder lead at 44-30 with a freebie to end the quarter.

“Both teams fouled a lot and their wasn’t a real flow to the game,” Hahn said. “Our defense forced enough turnovers and took advantage of them and made some big shots again.”

Kohls added a layup on a fast break and Kiekhafer hit two more free tosses, but everytime the Vikings seemed to make a little move, the Mounders had an answer in the final stanza. Colfax closed the gap to twelve at 54-42 on a Rudi jumper but Doll put the exclamation point on the win with a slammer and Strom finished it off with two free throws.

“Elk Mound has so many good players, we had to pick our poison and we decided to try and hold their big guns (Curry and Doll) down,” Colfax coach Garrett Maas said. “We did a good job on them, holding them under their average and Jared held Doll to just six points, but they had enough other players who played really well. We had Ethin bringing the ball up court the first half against their zone and we knew his scoring would suffer. He did so many other things for us though, we wouldn’t have been in the game without his play. We had to change things up and get the ball in his hands the second half. They had an answer for every shot we made, it seems like,” he added.

Kohls, who averages just over six points a game led the Mounders with 14, including 12 from long range shots while Curry was five points under his average of 15 with 10 points. Doll finished with six which was also under his average of 14. Demoe led the Vikings with 14 points after coming into the game with an 18 point average, and Rudi had a career high 13 points to lead the Vikings. Kiekhafer finished with 10, which was six below his average. The Mounders were 14 of 20 from the foul line while Colfax was 12 for 22.

Elk Mound is now 6-0 in conference play and 9-1 overall while Colfax is 4-1 in the conference and 6-3 overall. Both teams have a busy week coming up with make up games and a Saturday game.

ELK MOUND (59) Kohls 5-0-0-14, Curry 4-2-2-10, Strom 3-2-2-9, Nelson 2-2-4-7, Lew 1-3-4-6, Doll 1-4-6-6, Hanson 3-0-0-6, Gottschalk 0-1-2-1

COLFAX (42) DeMoe 5-4-6-14, Rudi 5-2-6-13, Kiekhafer 2-5-8-10 G. Phillips 1-1-1-3, Wait 1-0-0-2

Three Pointers: Kohls 4, Nelson 1, Strom 1, Rudi 1, Kiekhafer 1