By Cara L. Dempski
GLENWOOD CITY — Colfax’s boys’ basketball team could have knuckled under and given up after losing both Treyton Teige and George Scharlau, but it did not.
The Vikings may have picked up just two wins in the time between losing two of their top players and the start of tournament season, but suffered through only two substantial losses between January 19 and now.
[emember_protected] Head coach Garrett Maas said he was pleased with how his team repeatedly went out and played hard every night, staying in almost every game despite the losses. He said at one point this season’s team fast became one of his favorites to work with.
And the team kicked off its February 27 WIAA Division 4 regional quarterfinal at Glenwood City by rushing out of the gates and carrying a five-point lead into halftime. Sadly, the win was not to be, as the Hilltoppers had the last word, picking up a 56-49 win and March 2 trip to Clear Lake for the regional semifinal contest.
Toppers’ senior Riley Schutz led the home team to the victory as he eclipsed the 1,000 career- point plateau in the second half when he score 15 of his game high 24 points.
The Toppers were the first ones on the scoreboard when Dillon Hierlmeier hit both shots on a two-point trip to the line, but the Vikings answered with a field goal courtesy of Ed Hydukovich to tie things up at two.
Jackson Hellmann buried a pair of back-to-back three-pointers, split by a basket from GC senior Riley Schutz, to give the Vikings an 8-4 lead. The Glenwood boys roared back to life when Schutz drilled a three to make the score 8-7, but Hellmann turned around and hit his third three-point shot in a row to make the game 11-7.
Hydukovich responded with a two-point shot, and Hellmann put in a pair of charity tosses to give the Colfax squad a 15-9 advantage. The Viking junior then drew a foul off Dillon Hierlmeier on a shot from outside the arc, but hit just one of his three free-throw attempts.
Glenwood City’s Hadin DeSmith netted a three-point shot, but Hellmann returned the favor with his fourth three of the game, leaving the Colfax boys with a 19-12 lead and eight minutes to play before the half.
Colfax grabbed its largest lead of the game, 24-14, with 5:41 to play before halftime, but then the Hilltoppers slowly started to chip away at the Vikings.
Hierlmeier and Tanner Davis hit back-to-back field goals to cut Colfax’s lead to six, then three, and trailed 31-28 when the buzzer sounded for the intermission.
Hydukovich opened the second half with two off a rebound play to extend the Vikings’ lead to five, and Ben Thompson drove to the inside for two more to give Colfax a 35-28 advantage.
On the other end of the court, Glenwood City – who nailed just two triples in the first half – opened the final 18 with a three-pointer from DeSmith, and then Schutz nabbed Hierlmeier’s missed three to put it in for two to pull within two of the Colfax squad.
The Vikings again pushed out to a six-point lead on shots from Thompson and Luke Heidorn, but the Hilltoppers just kept coming on. Schutz and Hydukovich traded blows with threes before the Colfax sophomore fouled the Glenwood City senior and sent him to the charity stripe for three.
Schutz hit the trio of shots to give the Hilltoppers a 50-47 lead with just 4:44 to play.
Hydukovich again went in for the score, but then Hilltopper Pete Hill hit a free throw and Davis nabbed a three from the corner to give the home team a 54-47 lead.
Despite some foul trouble for DeSmith, the Toppers limited the Vikings to just two more points, one each from Hellmann and Noah Albricht, to hang on for the win.
Hellmann was the high-scoring player for the Vikings with 16 points, Hydukovich picked up 14, Teige and Ben Thompson scored seven apiece, Luke Heidorn put up four, and sophomore Noah Albricht scored on a free throw.
With the loss, the Vikings say good bye to seniors Teige, Marcus Reisdorf and Taylor Sarauer. Despite losing some valuable experience on the court, Maas retains juniors Heidorn, Thompson, Trevor Rothbauer, Scharlau and Jackson Hellmann.
He also anticipates the return of emerging talents Hydukovich and Cole Seehaver for the 2018-2019 season.
Colfax finished the season with a 10-13 record overall, and was 7-7 in the Dunn-St. Croix.
COLFAX 49, GLENWOOD CITY 56
Colfax…………………………..33 16 — 49
Glenwood City…………………28 28 — 56
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-T)
Colfax (16-12-14-49) — B. Thompson 3-1-2-7, N. Albricht 0-1-1-1, E. Hydukovich 7-0-2-14, T. Teige 1-4-4-7, J. Hellmann 4-4-3-16, L. Heidorn 1-2-0-4.
Glenwood City (22-6-15-56) — D. Hierlmeier 4-2-3-10, P. Hill 2-1-1-6, H. DeSmith 3-1-3-9, Q. Taylor 0-0-2-0, R. Schutz 10-2-3-24, T. Davis 3-0-3-7.
C — T. Teige 1, J. Hellmann 4; GC — P. Hill 1, H. DeSmith 2, R. Schutz 2, T. Davis 1. [/emember_protected]