Colfax boys slip past Elk Mound to stay in contention for conference title

ELK MOUND — When the Colfax boys invaded the Elk Mound gym for their second matchup of the season in a Monday night game Feb. 9, the game had all the makings of a high scoring, possibly three point shoot out. The Mounders had connected on 23 triples in their two previous games coming from a host of players, while Colfax had sharp shooter Kedar Davis leading the team with 31 for the season along with a few others who have been known to step up and knock one down here and there. But in the end, it was defense that determined the outcome as the Vikings took a 38-35 win, their second victory  over the Mounders this year.

After Sawyer DeMoe connected under the hoop for Colfax, the Mounders went on a five point run with an Alex Hollister drive and a Dane Lew triple. The Vikings’ Jeremiah Wait, after being called for a charge in the lane a minute earlier, drove right back in for a bucket. Mounder Noah Zurbuchen followed with a drive to give his team a 7-4 lead. DeMoe canned a short jumper and after a turnover on the Mounders, DeMoe added a free throw. With 40 seconds on the clock, Elk Mound worked the ball around, looking for a final shot, but they were off the mark, leaving Colfax up 8-7 after the first quarter.

Both teams missed on three point attempts to start the second before Hollister hit a pair of free tosses for an 9-8 Mounder advantage. Cole Tyman upped the lead with a jumper in the lane but Colfax’s Ben Kragness countered those two points with two free tosses. Justin Erpenbach knocked down a freebie for the Mounders along with two by Brandon Bohl, which came off Kragness’ third foul with 3:45 left in the half, for a 14-10 lead. Davis, on his fourth three point attempt of the game, finally found nothing but net from the corner, then stole the ball after blocking a Mounder shot and drove down court. Looking ahead, he found an open Brett Prince under the basket and zipped a pass to him for a layup for a 15-14 Colfax lead. Wait dribbled in a circle and found his way to the basket for another deuce, but Lew canned his second trey to knot things up at 17-17. With 30 seconds left in the half, the Mounders set up for a final shot again, and this time it worked to perfection as Tyman got lost in the shuffle and nailed an open triple at the buzzer to give the Mounders a 20-17 advantage.

Neither team had more than a three point advantage in the third stanza with the lead changing hands four times. After both teams mis-fired from behind the arc again, Davis found the mark for his second trey and Wait drove the lane for another deuce and a 22-20 Colfax lead. That didn’t last long as Tyman drained his second triple and Erpenbach dropped in a shot from underneath to put the Mounders back up 25-22.

The Vikings’ Aliymu Davis scored his only points of the game on a baseline drive, but both teams went cold for the next couple of minutes, missing from long range and short range. DeMoe finally muscled his way for a deuce to give Colfax a one point lead but again the Mounders responded as Brandon Bohl connected from three point land. Jarrod Rudi hit a pair of free tosses for the Vikings and it was all knotted at 28-28 with a minute left in the quarter. Elk Mound missed a golden opportunity to regain the lead when they missed a three pointer, then came up empty again, this time on a put back attempt after snaring the offensive rebound.

Aliymu Davis came up with a steal early in the fourth quarter but after missing a layup, the ball found its way into brother Kedar’s hands who canned another triple. Erpenbach scored from underneath and Rudi countered with a nifty reverse layup, which in turn was countered again by Erpenbach with another bucket in the paint. DeMoe put Colfax up 35-32 with two free tosses, then upped the lead on a shot in the lane off an Aliymu Davis assist.

Colfax starter Kragness fouled out at this point which put some pressure on his teammates for rebounding purposes, but the Mounders were off the mark on two consecutive triple attempts before Colfax mis-fired on their own three pointer. Tyman then buried his third trey and just like that, the Vikings’ lead was cut to two at 37-35 with 1:09 on the clock. Colfax coach Garrett Maas called a time out when his team struggled to get the ball downcourt, but that also allowed the Mounders to set their defense. The result was a Colfax turnover, and it was Mounders’ coach Chris Hahn’s turn to call a time out to discuss offensive strategy. Although he came up with a pretty good plan, an open shot in the lane was off target with the rebound being snared by Wait, the smallest kid on the court. Kedar Davis was fouled with 20 seconds left and he knocked down one of two freebies for a three point cushion.

A tenacious defense on the Vikings’ part didn’t allow the Mounders to get off a decent shot until just before the final buzzer, but the shot bounced off the rim, allowing Colfax to hang on for the win.

“We played much better team defense in the second half,” Maas said. “We did a really good job of getting out on their shooters. We also won the battle at the free throw line and had our best output from there all season. Staying out of foul trouble and not putting Elk Mound at the line in the second half was key for us,” he added.

DeMoe led all scorers with 12 points while Kedar Davis added 10. Tyman was the only Mounder in double figures with 11 points. Colfax shot 90% from the foul line on nine of ten free throws while Elk Mound was five of eight for 62%. The win puts the Vikings at 8-3 in conference play, and in a tie with Elmwood-Plum City atop the conference standings. Elk Mound is 6-6 in the conference and is tied for fourth place.

COLFAX (38) DeMoe 4-4-4-12, K. Davis 3-1-2-10, Wait 3-0-0-6, Rudi 1-2-2-4, A. Davis 1-0-0-2, Prince 1-0-0-2, Kragness 0-2-2-2

ELK MOUND (35) Tyman 4-0-0-11, Erpenbach 3-1-2-7, Lew 2-0-0-6, Bohl 1-2-2-5, Zurbuchen 1-0-1-2

THREE POINTERS: Tyman 3, K. Davis 3, Lew 2, Bohl 1