After an eight day layoff from competition, the Colfax boys got back into conference play at Glenwood City Feb. 17, dropping the contest to the Hilltoppers 56-45. Needing just two points to top the 1,000 point mark in scoring, Sawyer DeMoe scored 15 to help keep the Vikings in contention for the conference crown in a 42-37 come from behind win over Mondovi three days later.
Colfax was tied for the conference lead with Elmwood-Plum City at 8-3 but the Hilltoppers at 5-6 were on a four game winning streak, all against conference teams. With seven seniors on this year’s squad, Glenwood City had high hopes at the start of the season of being a conference contender but struggles early on changed things. On this night, they showed what they are capable of on both offense and defense.
With DeMoe needing 10 points to reach his milestone, the Toppers decided it wasn’t going to happen on their court, and certainly not on senior night. DeMoe was double teamed all night and held to eight points after entering the game with a 15 point per game average. Colfax was down 8-0 before Jarrod Rudi put them on the board with a three point shot. After Kedar Davis nailed a pair of treys and Aliymu Davis drove end to end for a layup, the Vikings were back in business, down 13-11. But Glenwood’s two leading scorers, Todd Peterson and Jake Hierlmeier combined for five points in between DeMoe’s first bucket of the game and the Vikings were down 18-13 after the first quarter.
Kedar Davis and Jeremiah Wait both dropped in a free toss but the Hilltoppers were pounding the paint and went up 23-15 before Kedar Davis drained another triple. Colfax mis-fired on two attempts from long range then Rudi scored six straight points on a couple of free throws and two deuces on drives through the lane to give the Vikings a 24-23 lead. Kedar Davis added to the lead with a layup and the half ended with the Vikings up 26-25.
Peterson put the Toppers back up right away to start the third on a short jumper but Rudi canned a triple for a 29-27 Colfax advantage. DeMoe hit a jumper and Colfax fans were hoping the four point lead was going to increase but Glenwood kept answering with their own baskets, knotting it up at 31-31. Kedar Davis brought another spark to the offense with his fourth trey but a six point run put the Toppers back up 37-34. Kedar Davis figured the best way to beat the Toppers 2-3 zone was to keep shooting over it, and he dropped in his fifth shot from behind the arc to knot the score. However, Hierlmeier followed suit with his own trey and the Vikings trailed 40-37 heading into the final quarter.
Hierlmier immediately canned another triple for a six point lead and after the Vikings missed three shots from under the basket, DeMoe dropped in his first three pointer of the year to cut the lead in half. After Kedar Davis hit a pair of free throws with 2:39 left, leaving them down 46-42, Glenwood started to pull away when the Vikings began to foul. Both Wait and Kedar Davis fouled out and Hierlmeier canned four free tosses to end the game.
Kedar Davis finished with 20 points for the Vikings while Rudi added 12. Hierlmeier, who averages 12 points a game, led Glenwood with 20 and Peterson finished with 16. Colfax was eight for 13 at the foul line and the Toppers were 12 for 15.
GLENWOOD CITY (56) Hierlmeier 6-6-6-20, Peterson 8-1-2-16, M.Kadinger 3-1-1-7, N. Schone 1-3-4-5, K. Wallace 1-0-0-3, B. Norenberg 0-1-2-1
COLFAX (45) K. Davis 5-5-6-20, Rudi 4-2-3-12, DeMoe 3-1-4-8, B. Kragness 1-0-0-3, A. Davis 1-0-0-2
THREE POINTERS: K. Davis 5, Hierlmeier 4, Rudi 2, DeMoe 1, Kragness 1, Wallace 1, Peterson 1
Well, folks, this was one of those games you had to see to believe. In fact, everyone who was there may still be in disbelief at the final outcome. After Kragness opened the game with a deuce for a 2-0 lead, DeMoe scored from underneath on his second attempt of the game for that 1,000th point, then added another which was followed by Kedar Davis’ drive. DeMoe finished off the quarter with a short jumper for a 10-4 Vikings’ lead.
But the second quarter turned out to be a disaster for Colfax when they were completely shut out in the scoring department. It wasn’t for lack of trying but they couldn’t get the ball to fall into the hoop on their home court. They came up empty on nine shot attempts, several from under the basket that rolled or bounced off the rim along with a few from behind the arc. They also had a shot blocked, a charging call against them and several unforced errors, and if not for the fact the Buffaloes were not burning up the nets themselves, they would have been behind a lot further then 15-10 at the break.
“We just couldn’t get the ball in the basket,” coach Garrett Maas said. “We were going right after them in the lane but when shots don’t fall, you have to rely on your defense to keep you in the game.”
Colfax finally broke their scoring drought at the 5:25 mark of the third stanza, when DeMoe hit from close range, and after Kragness hit a huge triple from the corner, they were down 17-15. But the hoop got smaller again for them as they came up empty on three consecutive shots while the Buffaloes were connecting on theirs, pulling out to a 25-15 lead after the quarter ended.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and if Colfax was going to have any chance of at least playing for a tie for the conference title, they needed this win. Applying a full court press, which seemed to baffle the Buffaloes and put them out of sync, Rudi took the ball in for a layup on a fast break. After a Colfax steal five seconds later, DeMoe scored from underneath then Rudi used his long arms for another swipe and scored on a drive to the hoop and added a free throw on the play. Just like that, the Mondovi lead was cut to 25-22. The Vikings committed their seventh team foul with 6:33 remaining however, and it looked like Mondovi would be spending a lot of time at the foul line the rest of the game. Two different players hit a pair of free tosses for them after Kedar Davis came up empty on two straight three point attempts and Colfax was behind 27-22. Davis finally found his sweet spot from long range, then using his quick hands, forced Mondovi into a turnover. Kragness surprised everyone with his second trey of the game and the Vikings were down by one before the Buffs added two more free throws. Rudi and Wait combined to force another turnover, resulting in Wait scoring on a layup. Davis came up with his own swipe then found DeMoe in the lane who promptly canned a short jumper for a 32-31 Colfax lead with around three minutes to play. The Vikings mis-fired twice on their next possession but crashed the boards and DeMoe scored on the third shot for a three point advantage. After a Mondovi player missed a wide open shot in the middle of the lane, Colfax gained the rebound but turned it over and Davis committed his fourth foul with 2:02 left. It also happened to be the team’s tenth overall and allowed the Buffaloes to close the gap with two more free tosses.
After another Colfax turnover, on a play that resembled a fumble in a football game with everyone on the floor fighting for the ball, Davis made yet another great defensive play as he came up with the ball again under the Mondovi basket. He was fouled with 52 seconds left and calmly canned both free throws. 14 seconds later, after Colfax forced another Buffalo turnover, Davis went back to the line and dropped in two more freebies for a 38-33 lead with 38 ticks left on the clock. And at the risk of repeating myself, the Vikings forced Mondovi into another turnover and Davis went back to the stripe and hit two more freebies for a seven point lead. The Buffaloes were not done yet though as Hayden Ford canned his fourth trey of the game with 17 seconds left but a free throw by DeMoe and one from Rudi finally put the game away.
“Obviously, we should have used our pressure defense earlier but we just don’t have enough team depth to do that all game,” Maas said after the important win. “But if some of our shots had fallen like they usually do, we wouldn’t have been in that predicament in the first place. I’m really proud of how our kids fought back from adversity and used their skills and poise to pull out the win,” he added.
DeMoe finished with 15 points and is the seventh Colfax boy’s player to score over 1,000 career points. He jumped into fifth place behind Ken Obermueller (1,319), Larry Knudson (1,308), Justin Wittrock (1,180), Ethin Kiekhafer (1,069) DeMoe now with 1,013, Lewis Mau (1,006) and Tom Wahl (1,005).
Davis added 11 points and the win sets up a final showdown at Elmwood-Plum City this Thursday. Colfax needs a win to tie for the conference championship and a win for E-PC gives them the title outright. The game is scheduled to be played at Plum City.
COLFAX (42) DeMoe (7-1-2-15, K. Davis 2-6-6-11, Kragness (3-0-0-8, Rudi 2-2-4-6, Wait 1-0-0-2
MONDOVI (37) Ford 4-2-2-14, C. Kamla 2-1-2-6, B. Purdy 2-2-2-6, G. Poeschel 2-0-0-5, J. Ede 1-2-2-4, S. Hayes 0-2-4-2
THREE POINTERS: Ford 4, Kragness 2, Davis 1, Poeschel 1, Kamla 1