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By Amber Hayden
COLFAX – For the Colfax Vikings boys’ basketball team, the goal of winning a conference title has eluded the squad the previous six seasons.
The Vikings’ last Dunn-St. Croix championship came in the 2011-12 season, their second consecutive, when the boys went 15-1 in league play and 24-3 overall making it to the state tournament where they lost to eventual state titlist Dominican, 67-44, in the Division 4 semifinals.
But head coach Garrett Maas, in his sixth season with a record of 55-62, has high hopes in the players he has returning in the 2018-19 season and their prospects for a title run.
The Vikings finished an injury-plagued 2017-18 season at 10-13 overall and 7-7 in the Dunn-St. Croix conference for a sixth-place finish.
Treyton Teige and Taylor Sarauer graduated last spring. Teige finished with 131 points and 72 rebounds in 15 games. Saraauer tallied 17 points and a dozen boards in as many contests.
“We made major strides in team chemistry last year and we look to build on that along with being healthy,” Maas commented.
Returning letterwinners for the Vikings this season include senior leaders George Scharlau, Ben Thompson, Luke Heidorn, Trevor Rothbauer and Jackson Hellmann along with juniors Ed Hydukovich and Cole Seehaver .
Scoring, depth and guard play will be the strength of the returning players noted Maas.
George Scharlau led Colfax in scoring average last season, tallying 18.5 points per game in just 13 games and converted .638 of his free throws. He also had a whopping 114 rebounds and 16 blocks in that time. Scharlau, who suffered a season-ending injury midway through last season, impressed many of the conference coaches and earned a first-team all-conference selection and was named the Dunn-St. Croix player of the year for the 2017-18 season.
Senior Ben Thompson made 136 field goals and added 30 more three-pointers and 39 free throws during last season to finish with 401 points, tops on the team. Thompson also had 23 assists and 34 steals in 21 games.
Ed Hydukovich was the only player from last season’s squad to make it through all 23 games healthy. He put in 135 points and a team-leading 124 rebounds. Hydukovich also tallied 10 blocks well as 19 assists.
Colfax will focus on three goals this season, Maas explained: winning the D-SC conference, being the best defensive team and making a deep run in the playoffs.
But to make those goals reality, the Vikings need to become more physical in all five positions, he said.
“We also need to become a more consistent freethrow shooting team,” stated the Vikings ‘head coach.
Coach Maas sees four teams the Vikings need to watch out for in the upcoming season.
Durand returned some key pieces of their team that reached the sectional final and will be difficult to deal with; Glenwood City have three returning players back for the 2018-19 season; Elk Mound looks to be better this year from a chemistry stand point; and Spring Valley has three good guards and is well-coached.
The Colfax boys will open the new season on the road next Monday, November 26 against Thorp. The Vikings will return home later in the week to play host to Ellsworth on Friday, November 30. They then travel to UW-Stout the next day Saturday, December 1 to take on Chippewa Falls McDonell Central.
Colfax will start the conference play against the Spring Valley Cardinals on Thursday, December 6 in Spring Valley.
Seniors: Jackson Hellmann, Ben Thompson, George Scharlau, Trevor Rothbauer, Vasco Ferreira and Luke Heidorn.
Juniors: Cole Seehaver, Ed Hydukovich, Zach Rindy, Tyler Hallquist, Marcus Drees, Brady Lawrence and Brad Thompson.
Sophomores: Austin Schindler, Caden Erickson, Quinn Russell, Hunter Rebak, Noah Heidorn, Mitchell Reisdorf, Tanner Hoffman and Drew Gibson.
Freshmen: Jamison Flatland, Ryan Albricht, Tristan Lenz, Taylor Risler, Bryce Sikora, Colin Bohl and Thomas Drees.