By Cara L. Dempski
COLFAX — Colfax’s boys’ basketball head coach Garrett Maas has told his team all season it has the talent to beat any team in the Dunn-St. Croix.
In a January 26 game, the Viking boys showed just how talented they are by staying even with conference foe Durand until the final nine minutes of the game, when the Colfax squad started to run out of steam and the Panthers’ deadly free-throw shooting took center stage.
Despite the Vikings’ 67-59 home loss to the third-place Panthers last Thursday, Maas and the fans watching the game said the team had no reason to feel bad about the loss. What made the game impressive for fans of the Vikings was the fact that an already small squad was down two more players since junior Adam Pretasky was out sick and senior Aliymu Davis had not been in school since several days earlier.
“It was a fun game,” Maas said afterward. “I’m very proud of the guys and how hard they played. I think, in the end, being down two guys, our depth hurt us a little bit. We got tired.”
The exhaustion of the team starters aside, the Vikings played as a whole team for the first time this season. Maas commented it was the best game the squad has played all year, and fan comments after the game indicated Colfax’s supporters have noticed the frustration on the court in prior contests, and seemed pleased with the change in attitude in the game.
The Vikings controlled the court for most of the first half, forcing multiple turnovers and sticking to the paint when a Panther pushed to the glass to pick up multiple rebounds. The strategy worked, and Colfax 33-30 with 40.1 to go in the opening half when Durand’s Bret Schlosser sent in a three-point swisher to tie things up as both teams broke for the half.
Colfax had difficulty pulling in rebounds early in the second half, leading to a few big shots for the Durand squad, which put them ahead with a score of 38-33 at 15:38. The Vikings continued to push and harry the Panther shooters and grabbed the lead back at 9:10 on a field goal from George Scharlau that made the score 44-43.
Scharlau extended the Vikings lead to 47-43 less than a minute later with a three-point corner shot to give Colfax a 47-44 lead. The Vikes started to make defensive mistakes late in the game, and the Panther squad cruised to a 67-59 victory on a series of free throws that rounded out a team average of .100 from the line.
Senior Jacob Larson held Colfax’s highest individual score for the game with 16 points. Ben Thompson nailed four outside shots for 12 points, and Scharlau and Treyton Teige scored 11 points each. Marcus Reisdorf found a spark and put in a pair of field goals to log four points, Luke Heidorn came off the bench to contribute three points, and Matthew Reisdorf put in a single basket for two points.
Schlosser was the highest-scoring player in the game, earning 21 points on a trio of field goals, a trio of three-point shots, and six free throws.
The loss to Durand drops the Vikings to 1-6 in the Dunn-St. Croix and leaves them 5.5 games behind current leader, 6-0 Spring Valley. Colfax is scheduled to host the next chapter in the decades-long Mound/Viking rivalry on January 31 before heading to Boyceville for a meeting with the Bulldogs on February 2.
The team will travel to Plum City for a game against the Wolves on February 7.
DURAND 67, COLFAX 59
Durand……………………………..33 34 — 67
Colfax………………………………33 26 — 59
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Durand (12-13-10-67) W. Berger 1-0-1-2, N. Siebenaler 2-2-3-6, R. Hansen 1-2-0-13, B. Schlosser 3-6-3-21, J. Anibas 2-0-0-4, B. Sabelko 2-3-0-19, T. Kilboten 1-0-1-2, E. Bauer 0-0-2-0.
Colfax (17-7-14-59) J. Larson 6-4-1-16, T. Teige 3-2-2-11, G. Scharlau 4-0-2-11, Mar. Reisdorf 2-0-2-4, Mat. Reisdorf 1-0-4-2, B. Thompson 0-0-1-12, L. Heidorn 1-1-2-3.
THREE-POINTERS D — R. Hansen 3, B. Schlosser 3, B. Sabelko 4; C — T. Teige 1, G. Scharlau 1, B. Thompson 4.