By Cara L. Dempski
COLFAX — Colfax’ head boys basketball coach Garrett Maas is understandably frustrated right now.
The Vikings followed up an impressive win over Boyceville on December 9 by dropping two straight games.
Things did not improve for the Vikings during their December 20 non-conference home match-up against Ellsworth. Not only did Colfax lose 67 to 48, but the playing status of senior starter Aliymu Davis was left in question after a second-half injury took him out of the game. The Vikings fell to 2-3 overall with the loss and are 1-2 in the Dunn-St. Croix.
The Panthers controlled the tempo of the game, and pushed to the glass time after time after finding the chinks in Colfax’s defensive armor.
Maas expressed no frustration with the individual effort of his players, but said he is concerned about each player learning to play as part of the team.
“We played hard, but we need to play as a team and play smart,” the coach said.
Colfax was slow to start and did not score until Davis stepped up to the free throw line to sink one of two shot attempts with 14:54 on the clock. Less than 30 seconds later, Viking sophomore George Scharlau put in two charity shots to make the score 3-5.
The Vikings struggled to get inside and score for another three minutes before Davis put up a shot for three from the baseline outside the arc to raise the score to 9-6 with 11:10 left in the opening half. The Panthers and Vikings went back and forth for a few minutes, raising the score to 14-11 when Colfax’s Adam Pretasky sent one up from the top of the key that was nothing but net and evened the score at 14-14 at 7:36.
Colfax managed to keep the score tied for a couple minutes, but Ellsworth increased its pace again, scoring 11 more points and limiting the Vikings to only six for a score of 33-22 at halftime.
The Panthers kept grinding away at Colfax in the second half, despite the Vikings pressing harder and creating more turnovers than in the first half of the game. Colfax did grab four more points in the second half, but was not able to catch up with Ellsworth.
“We made a bid to get back into the game, but still had too many mental breakdowns,” Maas commented. “We have a long way to go before we’re a decent defensive team and we’re just giving up too many points right now.”
Pretasky and Scharlau put up two big three-point shots early in the second half, but could not create a spark bright enough to ignite the Viking offense, and the Panthers pulled out to a 51-35 lead with nine minutes left to play.
Davis went down with his injury after taking a blow to the mouth and then hitting the floor hard. He came up bleeding and play was stopped while the blood was mopped up and he was tended to by medical staff. Maas later reported Davis would likely need stitches for the cut he sustained to his upper lip.
Ellsworth kept making it difficult for the Vikings to get inside, forcing Colfax to take outside shots that just would not fall, the team’s final 13 points came from a Ben Thompson three-pointer, a field goal from Marcus Reisdorf, and a series of free throws.
“They (Ellsworth) were just more aggressive than we were tonight,” Maas said. “They did all the little things: they made the extra pass, they attacked the rim.”
Pretasky led the Viking offensive effort with nine points spread out over a trio of shots from outside the arc. Davis picked up seven points prior to his departure from the game, and Scharlau, Marcus Reisdorf and Jacob Larson each tacked six points onto their personal records. Treyton Teige took credit for five points, and Thompson, Luke Heidorn and Matthew Reisdorf each picked up three points.
Panther junior Alex Motley pulled in 25 points for Ellsworth in the game.
The Vikings, who enjoyed a nine-day break, travel to Eleva this Friday, December 30 for a non-conference match-up with the Eleva-Strum Cardinals.
ELLSWORTH 67, COLFAX 48
Ellsworth………………………….33 34 — 67
Colfax………………………………22 26 — 48
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Ellsworth (42-10-17-67) E. Lange 0-0-2-3, L. Anderson 0-0-1-3, P. Harrington 0-0-1-0, M. Anderson 1-2-3-4, G. Ekvern-Jamme 2-0-5-4, J. Kannel 3-0-0-6, L. Benson 5-3-1-16, A. Motley 8-3-0-25, D. Flom 0-2-2-2, T. White 1-0-1-2, Z. Huppert 1-0-1-2.
Colfax (16-8-18-48) B. Thompson 0-0-0-3, A. Davis 0-1-4-7, J. Larson 1-1-0-6, T. Teige 2-1-0-5, G. Scharlau 0-3-4-6, Mar. Reisdorf 3-0-2-6, L. Heidorn 1-1-0-3, A. Pretasky 0-0-5-9, Mat. Reisdorf 1-1-3-0.
THREE-POINTERS E — E. Lange 1, L. Anderson 1, L. Benson 1, A. Motley 2; C — B. Thompson 1, A. Davis 2, J. Larson 1, G. Scharlau 1, A. Pretasky 3.