It didn’t take long –three days to be exact – for the Colfax boys to relinquish their hold on the top spot of the Dunn -St. Croix Conference as they dropped a nail biter 52-51 to the visiting Elmwood-Plum City team Jan. 20. Staying on their home court, the Vikings squared off against St. Croix Central three days later, the team that beat them by three points earlier in the year, and used balanced scoring to win 57-49. But less than 24 hours later, Colfax traveled to Edgar for a Saturday matinee and lost to the Wildcats in a non-conference matchup 47-40, putting their overall record at 8-5 and their conference record at 6-2, leaving them tied for the top spot with Mondovi and E-PC.
With a roster showing 12 seniors and three juniors from the newly combined schools, the Wolves have made themselves a conference contending team this year. Although Kedar Davis came off the bench to spark the Vikings with a career high 23 points, the E-PC overly aggressive defense knew they had to keep Colfax post player and leading scorer Sawyer DeMoe in check if they were going to have a shot at winning. They managed to do just that, holding him to just seven points on the night. The Vikings didn’t help themselves any by hitting only eight of 17 free throws in the game, including an 0 for 5 performance in the fourth quarter while the Wolves were 14 of 21, nailing four of five in the final stanza.
Colfax held a slight 8-7 lead after the first quarter with four players scoring two points apiece. E-PC took over the lead at 16-9 in the second stanza before Aliymu Davis knocked down a short jumper and Andrew Harmon connected from downtown to close the gap to 16-14. E-PCs Austin Coss and Kedar Davis traded triples and after Colfax committed their seventh team foul with 2:30 to go in the half, E-PC went back up by five at 22-17.The Vikings then went on their own streak as Jarrod Rudi scored on a drive through the lane, Aliymu Davis followed suit and Rudi was a runaway train as he went end to end to score on a layup to give Colfax a 23-22 lead. It was short lived however, as E-PC scored from close range and the Vikings lost a chance to add points when they missed on a drive through the paint and didn’t get the benefit of having a foul called on the play, leaving them down 24-23 at the break.
Colfax fell even further behind at 30-23 early in the third before Aliymu Davis hustled all the way down court to score on a put back after a missed layup by his teammate and DeMoe drained a short jumper to get back to 30-27. Kedar Davis hit a pair of free throws and scored on a drive and another free toss but in between those shots, E-PC stuffed DeMoe twice under the hoop as they double teamed him to force two turnovers. DeMoe finally muscled his way for a bucket on the next possession then Ben Kragness nailed his only shot of the game from the top of the key to put Colfax up 36-35. The Wolves countered again a few seconds later with two free tosses but Rudi was fouled on a drive in the lane and he canned two of his own freebies to put his team back up 38-37 heading into the last quarter.
The lead changed hands again when E-PC hit a bucket and a free toss for a 40-38 lead but Kedar Davis put on a clinic in three pointers as he drained three of them in a span of less then a minute for a 47-42 lead, but the Colfax defense was struggling at this point, as the Wolves’ Austin-Wells drilled his only trey of the night, cutting the Colfax lead to 47-45. They followed up with a pair of free throws and it was 47-47 with 2:12 to go, but Kedar Davis showed great court awareness again as he followed up a missed shot by his brother for a 49-47 lead. A drive and a free toss by Alex Boyer gave E-PC a 50-49 advantage with 40 seconds left, and yet again the Vikings took the lead back on Kedar Davis’ deuce. With 8.4 seconds left, Levi Wolf drove down the middle of the lane for two points and a 52-51 E-PC lead, and after a time out by Colfax coach Garrett Maas, the out of bounds play set up with 2.2 seconds left almost worked to perfection. But the pass to an open DeMoe under the hoop was about six inches off course, resulting in a turnover to end the game.
“We had opportunities to win but with only one player scoring in the fourth quarter for us wasn’t enough,” Maas said. “I give E-PC a lot of credit. They just kept coming back and executed very well.”
ELMWOOD-PLUM CITY (52) Boyer 7-5-6-20, Wolf 4-5-7-13, Coss 4-2-4-12, Wells 1-0-0-3, N. Gilles 0-2-4-2
COLFAX (51) (K. Davis 7-5-8-23, Rudi 3-2-7-8, A. Davis 4-0-0-8, DeMoe 3-1-2-7, Harmon 1-0-0-3, Kragness 1-0-0-2
St. Croix Central
In what was the last Dunn St-Croix Conference game played against the Panthers who will move into the Middle Border Conference next year, the Vikings improved on their free throws, going 11 for 17 for the game and had three players finish in double figures in the scoring column on the night. Colfax held a slight 13-12 edge after the first stanza, and after falling behind 14-13 early in the second, Kedar Davis put his team back up on back to back triples to go with Rudi’s trey from the top of the circle for a 22-16 lead. DeMoe hit from under the hoop, then stuffed a Central shot on the defensive end, and after Kedar Davis’ third trey, DeMoe canned a pair of free tosses for a 29-16 advantage. Wait knocked down a free throw and Kragness hit from the key and Colfax went into the break up 32-19.
The Vikings held a lead of 10-14 points through most of the third quarter but the Panthers closed the gap to seven at 39-32 before Harmon slid through the lane and took a pass from Kedar Davis to score and put the score at 41-32 with a quarter of play left.
Colfax upped the lead to 14 again on a Kragness deuce and Davis’ fourth triple, and after Central connected on their own shot from behind the arc, Davis calmly drilled his fifth of the game for a 49-35 lead. But remember folks, this is the D-SC Conference and no team is a pushover it seems. The Panthers took advantage of some empty possessions and some defensive lapses by the Vikings while making some big shots on their end, cutting the Colfax lead to five points at 50-45 with 1:27 to go. After Colfax missed the front end of a one and one, Kragness snared the rebound and scored to up the lead, but Central scored on their own put back to put the game at 52-47 with 45 seconds left. Wait went to the charity stripe and calmly hit a pair of freebies, and after the Panthers misfired on a three pointer, Wait was fouled again. It was the tenth Panther foul, giving Wait two foul shots. He missed the first but connected on the second, and after Central drained a triple a few seconds later, DeMoe finally put the game away with two free tosses with four seconds left.
“Making free throws can make a difference in a game,” Maas said. “That has been our Achilles Heel for much of the season. We had kids come off the bench and play some good minutes tonight on both ends of the court. That is a key for us as we head down the stretch, having some team depth.”
Kedar Davis finished with 17 points, DeMoe added 15 and Kragness had a career high 13 for the Vikings.
COLFAX (57) K. Davis 6-0-2-17, DeMoe 5-5-6-15, Kragness 6-1-1-13, Wait 1-5-8-7, Rudi 1-0-0-3, Harmon 1-0-0-2
ST. CROIX CENTRAL (49) J. Freyholtz 6-0-0-12, J. Albright 4-0-2-8, E. Nielson 3-1-2-7, J. Matteson 3-0-0-7, T. Anderson 2-0-0-6, C. Lyksett 1-1-2-4, T. Berg 1-0-0-3, C. Johnson 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: K. Davis 5, Anderson 2, Rudi 1, Matteson 1, Lyksett 1, Berg 1
The Wildcats were 6-4 overall and 3-1 in the Marawood North Conference which should have made for a pretty close game between the two teams. It was for the first quarter as Kedar Davis came up with seven points on a triple and a pair of deuces while Rudi hit from long range but Colfax was down 11-10. Getting outscored 18-10 in the second stanza however put the Vikings in a hole as they went into the intermission behind 29-18 after both Harmon and Davis drained a trey each and Rudi scored from close range.
“We were pretty flat early on,” Maas said. “Edgar played a pretty patient offense and held the ball for long periods, making us play defense for long stretches, including a stretch for one and a half minutes.”
Colfax climbed to within eight points after the end of the third quarter after outscoring the Wildcats 10-7, but Edgar went to the charity stripe way too often in the final quarter and knocked down 12 of 13 from the line to hang on for the win.
“We had too many turnovers early on but I’m proud of the kids for not giving up,” Maas said.
Kedar Davis finished with 14 points to lead the Vikings while Rudi added a season high 12. Colfax was five for 10 at the foul line and Edgar knocked down 12 of 17 for the game and also connected on seven triples while Colfax had five.
EDGAR (47) T. Engel 4-0-0-11, N. Mueller 2-3-5-9, M. Urmanski 2-2-2-7, A. Hafferman 2-3-5-7, A. Borchardt 3-0-1-7, C. Heidmann 1-4-4-6
COLFAX (40) K. Davis 5-2-2-14, Rudi 4-3-6-12, DeMoe 3-0-0-6, Harmon 1-0-2-3, Kragness 1-0-0-3, B. Prince 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: Engel 3, Davis 2, Mueller 2, Rudi 1, Harmon 1, Kragness 1, Urmanski 1, Borchardt 1