Using a strong defense and a big fourth quarter, the Colfax boys came up with a 38-33 win at home over the Glenwood City Hilltoppers Jan. 15, then traveled to Mondovi for a Saturday matinee two days later. In a game that was nip and tuck for the first three and a half quarters, the Vikings again had a fourth quarter surge and won 52-44, leaving them at the top of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference with a 5-1 record.
It was a rather strange beginning to the game—or a strange beginning before the game even started—as the Vikings were behind 2-0 on a pair of Topper free throws which were awarded on a technical foul for a Colfax player having a different number on his jersey other than the one recorded in the official scorebook. Glenwood went up 5-0 on a three point shot before Sawyer DeMoe went to work. With his teammates feeding him the ball, DeMoe scored twice from under the hoop, and after Ben Kragness hit from close range for a 6-5 Vikings lead, DeMoe went strong to the basket twice more for a 10-5 lead. After a Jeremiah Wait free toss it was 11-8 in favor of Colfax after a quarter of play.
The Toppers took the lead back at 12-11 on a free throw and a triple but DeMoe hit from under the hoop again to regain the lead. DeMoe then connected on a short jumper off an inbounds pass followed by Alymu Davis scoring on a fast break pass from his brother Kedar Davis for a 17-12 lead. But the Toppers kept coming back as Kip Wallace canned his second trey and Marcus Kadinger scored from close range for a 17-17 tie. Wallace then hit another triple for the lead, but the Vikings’ Brett Prince came off the bench and made his only shot of the night count as he nailed a triple with three seconds left in the half for a 20-20 score.
Glenwood City used a combination man to man defense and a 1-3-1 zone to try and throw the Vikings off their game, and to stop DeMoe from scoring in the second half. It worked for a while as the Colfax players turned the ball over several times, trying to get it into DeMoe. DeMoe finally broke the tie on a fast break layup, and a Kragness free toss made it 23-20. But Wallace still had a hot hand as he drained his fourth shot from behind the arc to knot it up again. The Toppers’ Jake Hierlmeier scored twice on offensive rebounds and in between those shots, Colfax had a turnover and a one and done on a missed jump shot as Glenwood pulled out to a 27-23 advantage. Wait scored from the paint and Jarrod Rudi found DeMoe open under the basket and it was knotted at 27-27. In the last 18 sloppy seconds of the quarter, the Toppers turned it over twice and the Vikings once, sending the game into the final quarter.
Neither team could buy a bucket for the first two minutes as both missed some open shots. Heirlmeier finally found the hoop to put the Toppers up by two but Kedar Davis drove the lane for a layup and a DeMoe shot made it 31-29 for Colfax. The defense took over as they forced two straight Topper turnovers before Kedar Davis, after several attempts throughout the game, finally canned a three pointer. Colfax forced the Toppers into three more turnovers and with 1:53 to go, Kragness came up with a big shot, connecting for a jumper in the paint to up the lead to 36-29.
The Toppers needed to foul and force Colfax go to the free throw line since the Vikings were just two of seven from the line at this point. The problem was, Glenwood had only two fouls on them, so they had to come up with five fouls in a short period of time. With 38 seconds left, they finally committed their seventh team foul, sending DeMoe to the charity stripe. DeMoe hit one of two for a 37-30 lead. It seemed like the Vikings were in control and everyone was glad those two technical foul free throws to start the game were not going to hurt them, but a missed free throw gave the Toppers the ball back. Glenwood had another rally left in them however, as Todd Petersen, who averages almost 12 points a game, scored his only points on the night with a driving layup and a free throw to go with it. Another missed foul shot returned the ball to the Toppers but a bad pass on their part gave it back to Colfax. DeMoe was fouled and after missing the first free throw, he knocked down his game high 20th point of the game with three seconds left and put the game on ice.
“To hold any team to just 33 points says a lot for our defense,” Colfax coach Garrett Maas said. “Glenwood has some big scorers and I thought they would go to the basket more. But they kept shooting three pointers and luckily most of them didn’t go in. We struggled getting the ball in the basket and we have to get more players to score,” he added.
Nobody besides DeMoe finished in double figures for the Vikings as the team was just four for 13 from the free throw line. Wallace led Glenwood City with 12 points—all on three pointers– and Hierlmeier, who averages 15 points a game, added 11.
COLFAX (38) DeMoe 9-2-5-20, K. Davis 2-0-1-5, Kragness 2-1-2-5, Prince 1-0-0-3, Wait 2-0-1-3, A. Davis 1-0-0-2
GLENWOD CITY (33) Wallace 4-0-0-12, Hierlmeier 4-2-2-11, M. Kadinger 2-2-4-7, Petersen 1-1-1-3
THREE POINTERS: Kadinger 4, Prince 1, K. Davis 1, Hierlmeier 1, Kadinger 1
The teams were tied in conference play at 4-1 entering the game and for a while it looked like maybe Mondovi was a little overwhelmed as the Vikings took leads of 6-0 on buckets by DeMoe sandwiched around a Kragness jumper and 12-5 after Rudi scored and Aliymu Davis hit back to back shots from a layup and a jumper in the paint. After another DeMoe shot from under the hoop, Colfax was up 14-7 but seven consecutive points by the Buffaloes left the score at 14-14 at the end of the first stanza.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it was the Vikings’ motto as DeMoe put his team back up with another bucket from close range, and Aliymu Davis drained a trey for a 19-14 advantage. But after Colfax came up empty on three possessions, the Buffaloes took advantage and went on another run, this time for five points to knot it up. Kedar Davis found his brother open on a fast break for a lay up only to have Mondovi hit a pair of free throws for a 21-21 tie. DeMoe powered through a double team for a deuce which was countered by a Mondovi fast break layup and another shot in the paint by DeMoe put Colfax up 25-23 at the intermission.
The Vikings went up early in the third quarter by four points twice, but they just couldn’t pull away and get any breathing room. After a pair of DeMoe free tosses and two buckets from Aliymu Davis, Colfax was up 31-27 and again the Buffs went on another seven point run to give them the lead at 34-31. Kedar Davis’ triple tied it again and after a Mondovi deuce, Kedar put down another trey, and with two more DeMoe free shots, the teams went into the final eight minutes with Colfax up 39-36.
Andrew Harmon came up with a huge triple to start the fourth for a six point Colfax lead and after a series of turnovers by both teams, Mondovi scored on a fast break. DeMoe crashed the offensive boards to score on a put back but the Vikings committed their seventh team foul with around five minutes left, giving Mondovi several chances to score from the foul line. They hit a pair of free throws and scored on another fast break to cut the Viking’s lead to two before Kedar Davis drove the lane for a basket with 1:56 left. Wait went to the foul line 30 seconds later and knocked down two freebies and DeMoe pretty much put the game away on a basket and a free toss to go up 51-44 with 44 seconds left. Mondovi threw up some wild three point attempts before Wait hit a final free throw to finish off the win.
“We played pretty well on both ends of the court,” Maas said. “We pounded the ball inside to Sawyer and hit some big shots from outside when we needed them. Our defense held their leading scorer Hayden Ford down and we came up with some big steals and scored points off those turnovers.”
DeMoe again was dominate in the paint as he finished with 21 points on eight field goals and five of five free throws. Aliymu Davis added 11 points and Kedar Davis 10.
COLFAX (52) DeMoe 8-5-5-21, A. Davis 5-0-0-11, K. Davis 4-0-2-10, Harmon 1-0-0-3, Wait 0-3-4-3, Rudi 1-0-2-2, Kragness 1-0-0-2
MONDOVI (44) B. Purdy 4-3-5-11, J. Ede 4-0-0-9, G. Poeschl 3-0-1-8, Ford 3-0-0-6, C. Berg 3-0-0-6, C. Dregney 1-2-2-4
THREE POINTERS: K. Davis 2, Poeschl 2, A. Davis 1, Harmon 1, Ede 1