After losing their first game of the season by a single point, 45-44 on a last second free throw to Cochrane-Fountain City on their home court Dec. 2, the Colfax boys took to the road two days later and struggled to put points up as they lost 40-37 at St. Croix Central.
After losing the first game of the season to Colfax a year ago, the Pirates went on a roll and ended up their season at the state tournament in which they lost by two points in the semi-final game to Thorp. Several of those players are back this year and the experience from playing in big games seemed to help them out in the long run.
Colfax built an early 11-3 lead with help from a pair of Kedar Davis triples and after two shots from under the bucket by Sawyer DeMoe and a driving layup at the buzzer by Jarrod Rudi, the Vikings held a 17-9 lead at the end of the quarter.
Three straight turnovers on the Vikings’ part allowed the Pirates to draw closer before DeMoe hit a pair of free throws and Davis drained another trey for a 22-18 second quarter lead. C-FC knotted it up on a deuce but Davis came through again with his fourth shot from behind the arc which was countered by one from the opposition and it was all even at the break at 25-25.
Colfax went up by four points on DeMoe’s two free throws and his follow up layup after his steal but they couldn’t pull away. Isaac Lee assisted Rudi for a bucket, then Lee drove the lane for his own deuce and at the end of the third quarter, the Vikings held a slim 34-33 lead.
Rudi opened the fourth with a shot off a spin move, but yet another C-FC triple and a put back put the Pirates up 38-36. DeMoe hit the offensive boards and scored but that was equalled by a Pirate deuce for another two point lead. Ben Kragness came up with his first points of the night on a shot from the top of the key to make it 40-40 before Mason Baecker put C-FC back on top with a couple of free throws. Both teams went cold in the scoring department for the next few minutes as the Vikings had three empty possessions while the Pirates had two. With under two minutes left, Kragness scored on a slick pass from Davis to tie it up at 42-42 and Jeremiah Wait pulled down a big rebound on the defensive end on a Pirate miss. DeMoe put the Vikings up on jumper in the lane but C-FC just refused to go away as they scored on an offensive rebound with 39 seconds left. After Colfax coach Garrett Maas called a time out to set up a final shot, the play didn’t pan out, and with less than a second left it appeared the fans were going to get to see some overtime action. But a foul called on Colfax with 0.7 seconds showing on the clock gave Jesse Gilbertson three chances to make a go ahead free throw. He made one, and a last ditch catch and shoot by DeMoe was off the mark to end the game.
“We played a pretty solid game defensively against a good team,” Maas said. “We struggled offensively the second half but C-FC shut down some of our scorers and we couldn’t get into any flow. We know what to work on now but I thought it was a pretty good first game for us.”
DeMoe led the Vikings with 16 points while Davis had 12, all on three pointers in the first half. Colfax was 8 for 10 at the foul line with DeMoe canning 6 of 6 while the Pirates were 3 of 8 but they hit eight triples to help their cause.
COCHRANE-FOUNTAIN CITY (45) T. Schmidtknecht 7-0-0-16. B. Halverson 4-0-0-12, Baecker 3-2-2-10, A. Murphy 2-0-1-4, Gilbertson 1-1-3-3
COLFAX (44) DeMoe 5-6-6-16, Davis 4-0-0-12, Rudi 3-1-2-7, Kragness 2-0-0-4, Wait 1-1-1-3, Lee 1-0-1-2
THREE POINTERS: Davis 4, Halverson 4, Baecker 2, Schmidtknecht 2
St. Croix Central
Hitting only six of 15 free throws in a game doesn’t usually result in a win which was the case for the Vikings. Holding an 11-4 lead after the first quarter had the makings of a runaway for Colfax but things turned quickly as Rudi had the only points for the team with a pair of free throws in the second stanza and they were down 14-13 at the half.
“We couldn’t get the ball in the hoop and we had some defensive breakdowns in the second quarter,” Maas said.
Davis knocked down his second triple of the game in the third while Rudi added four points to go with a bucket by Aliymu Davis as the Vikings regained the lead at 22-20 entering the final quarter. But the Panthers outscored the Vikings 20-15 in the final eight minutes to pull out the win.
Rudi led Colfax with 11 points while DeMoe and Kedar Davis both had 10.
ST. CROIX CENTRAL (40) J. Albright 6-2-3-15, J. Freyholtz 5-1-2-11, J. Matteson 2-3-3-7, T. Anderson 2-0-0-4, E. Nielson 1-1-2-3
COLFAX (37) Rudi 3-5-8-11, DeMoe 5-0-0-10, K. Davis 3-1-4-10, A. Davis 2-0-0-4, Wait 1-0-1-2
THREE POINTERS: K. Davis 3, Albright 1