By Cara L. Dempski
If the Colfax squad looked like it was maybe breathing a little easier last week at home, it was possibly due to some good news.
The Viking boys’ basketball team hosted Elmwood/Plum City for senior night February 13, and welcomed Treyton Teige back to the court for at least a couple minutes. It may not have been much, but to get back one of two injured players, even for a short time, seemed to give the team a lift.
The game was hard-fought, but the visiting Wolves eventually prevailed for the 62-59 win over the Vikings in Colfax.
Coach Garrett Maas and his team took a few days to refocus before hitting the floor in Mondovi on Friday, February 16. Despite taking a seven-point lead to the locker room at halftime, the Vikings fell in overtime 82-71.
Maas attended a seeding meeting February 17, where the team was seeded ninth. The Vikings will open tournament play next Tuesday, February 27 with a matchup in Glenwood City against the eighth-seeded Hilltoppers.
Colfax, who has lost seven of its last eight games, slipped to 10-11 overall and 7-6 in the Dunn-St. Croix as they headed into the final week of regular-season competition. Their final conference game will be a February 22 contest in Durand against the Panthers who have already won the conference championship.
Colfax junior Luke Heidorn likely will not forget last Tuesday’s home matchup against Elmwood/Plum City any time soon.
The Vikings were trailing the Wolves 62-56 in the waning moments of the game when Heidorn – who was at half court – hauled back his right arm while holding the ball and let fly toward the basket.
Since the ball was in the air just prior to the buzzer sounding, and the shot fell through, the ensuing three points were tacked up for Colfax’s final score.
Granted, the Vikings sustained a 62-59 loss less than a week after edging out the Wolves 67-63 to split their record against Elmwood/Plum City 1-1 for the season.
“Our margin of error is very thin,” Maas said of the Vikings. “We just made too many errors. I told the kids we missed too many box-outs, too many bunnies. They (Elmwood/Plum City) executed down the stretch, and we just came up a little short.”
Colfax was slow to start in the game, but managed to pull within one point at 9:17 before knotting the score at 27 four minutes later. The Vikings carried a 34-31 lead into halftime, but struggled to maintain it during the final half.
The Wolves stuck within six points for the first few minutes before narrowing the gap to 48-46 with just 7:30 to go. Elmwood/Plum City’s Luke Baier put the game within one when he hit the front end of a two-shot trip to the line, and then grabbed the lead with a bucket at 5:50 to make it 49-47.
The Vikings regained the upper hand at 5:06 on a big three-pointer from freshman Cole Seehaver, but then fell away again to trailed 56-62 before Heidorn’s big shot.
Ben Thompson took credit for the Vikings’ highest score after reeling in 26, and Heidorn added 17. Seehaver contributed seven, Ed Hydukovich picked up five, and Noah Albricht added four.
Baier was the game’s highest-scoring player with 37 points.
ELMWOOD/PLUM CITY 62, COLFAX 59
Elmwood/Plum City……..…..31 31 — 62
Colfax…………………………34 25 — 59
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Elmwood/Plum City (25-9-13-62) — N. Gansluckner 1-0-1-2, N. Forster 3-2-2-8, Z. Phillips 1-2-3-5, J. Glampe 1-0-1-2, T. Maxwell 3-0-3-8, L. Baier 16-5-3-37.
Colfax (24-6-16-59) — B. Thompson 11-1-0-26, C. Seehaver 2-2-4-7, N. Albricht 2-0-0-4, E. Hydukovich 2-1-3-5, J. Hellmann 0-0-4-0, M. Reisdorf 0-0-3-0, L. Heidorn 7-2-2-17.
EPC — Z. Phillips, T. Maxwell 2; C — B. Thompson 3, C. Seehaver 1, L. Heidorn 1.
Garrett Maas is likely grateful for Ben Thompson, Luke Heidorn and Ed Hydukovich.
Even though the team lost 82-71 in overtime, the trio accounted for 55 of the Vikings’ total points in the February 16 road contest at Mondovi.
Observers said the game was a tale of two halves, with the visiting squad in red playing a whopper of a first half, leading by 12 points at times, but then the Buffaloes stampeded past the Vikings in the second half. Colfax did manage to tie things up at the end of regulation but lost in the extra period.
Colfax embarked on a 12-2 run early in the first half to make the score 20-8, and held on to that lead for several minutes before Mondovi’s Ryan Fath and Kobe Fuentes nailed a pair of back-to-back threes to cut the Vikings lead to 27-21.
The two teams traded buckets until sophomore Noah Albricht and junior Jackson Hellmann canned another pair of outside shots for three to lead 35-23.
Mondovi’s Avery Hoepner responded with a jump shot for three with just 7.9 seconds to go before halftime, cutting the home team’s deficit to just seven points.
The Buffaloes came out of the locker room and scored five points to open the second half, prompting the Vikings to discuss the new situation with a time out at 16:28.
Albricht drained a shot off a rebound, but the Buffs scored two, and then Fath dropped in a three to give Mondovi its first lead of the game with a score of 41-38.
The Buffs raced out to a 62-55 lead at one points before Heidorn and Hydukovich nailed a pair of buckets, and freshman Cole Seehaver put in a charity throw to pull within two.
It was a three-pointer from Thompson with 16 seconds left that tied the game at 67 at the end of regulation.
Mondovi had difficulty hitting its free throws in the second half, making just 2 of 8 in the final few minutes of regulation but reversed that trend in the ensuing overtime period by drilling eight of 10 charity tosses in the final period.
The Vikings actually seized the lead during the OT period, but a bucket from Ben Larson was followed by one from Mondovi’s Hoepner and then a long three from Fuentes gave the Buffaloes a 74-69 advantage, and the team never looked back.
Hydukovich was Colfax’s leading player in the game, with 22 points to his credit. Heidorn contributed to the final tally with 17, Thompson with 16, Albricht with seven, Hellmann with five, and Seehaver with four.
Hoepner nabbed the game’s top score with 27 points.
COLFAX 71, MONDOVI 82
Colfax………………………….35 32 4 — 71
Mondovi………………………28 39 15 — 82
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Colfax (26-14-24-71) — B. Thompson 7-0-3-16, C. Seehaver 1-1-2-4, N. Albricht 2-2-4-7, E. Hydukovich 8-6-3-22, J. Hellmann 1-2-4-5, L. Heidorn 7-3-4-17, T. Sarauer 0-0-4-0.
Mondovi (28-16-15-82) — B. Christopherson 3-0-1-8, C. Johnson 4-1-4-10, A. Hoepner 9-8-1-27, R. Fath 2-2-2-8, O. Schultz 1-0-3-2, K. Fuentes 5-0-0-14, G. Gifford 0-2-3-2, B. Larson 4-3-1-11.
C — B. Thompson 2, C. Seehaver 1, N. Albricht 1, J. Hellmann 1; M — B. Christopherson 2, C. Johnson 1, A. Hoepner 1, R. Fath 2, K. Fuentes 4.