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By Amber Hayden
ELK MOUND — It’s called senior leadership for a reason.
Colfax senior Ben Thompson scored a game high 29 points including 20 in the first half alone to help the Vikings build a slim four-point advantage over the rival Mounders in the first 18 minutes of play last Monday’s Dunn-St. Croix boys’ basketball showdown in Elk Mound.
“Honestly I didn’t even know Ben had that many until after the game,” Vikings’ head coach Garrett Maas said. “He had some hot hands early.”
Fellow teammate and senior George Scharlau scored eight points, including a pair of threes, and made his 6’ 5” presence known throughout the game as he dominated the shorter Mounders on the boards. Scharlau collected 16 rebounds, a dozen on the defensive end, six blocked shots, a steal and finished with three assists.
Maas and the Vikings’ staff agree that Scharlau is unselfish when it comes to handling the ball, along with an awareness that if he is being double teamed it opens up someone else to make the points. And it showed again last Monday evdening
The pair helped Colfax pull away from Elk Mound, who was led by seniors Brett Lew and Marcus Kinblom, in the second half of their twice postponed rematch and post a 66-51 road victory in the February 11 contest that earned the Vikings the regular-season sweep of the Mounders. Colfax won the pair’s first meeting in December by a dozen points.
“We knew they (Elk Mound) were going to be a lot better, and obviously the first time we played them they were mostly man (defense),” Colfax coach Maas stated. “We knew the one-three-one was coming and they are just too well coached and too good of a team and we knew it would be a battle.”
Elk Mound refused to give in so easily as they worked the defense a little harder with faked looks, according to Mounders’ head coach Michael Kessler. Elk Mound managed 12 steals to Colfax’s eight and finished with 11 turnovers to the Vikings’ 17.
“In the last two and a half three weeks, we’ve probably been in the gym three times with the boys,” Kessler stated. “But that’s no different for Colfax either, it’s just unfortunate for everybody that you know this is the time of year you want to kind of get into a rhythm.”
Marcus Kinblom put the Mounders on top in the first half after Luke Heidorn missed the first set of free-throws for the Vikings. The next two minutes went back-and-forth before Ed Hydukovich and Ben Thompson sank two doubles to give Colfax a lead they would never give up.
Kinblom finished the evening with 11 points, most of which came in the second half for the Mounders, he also had three offensive rebounds, four defensive rebounds, an assist, four steals and a deflection.
“We turned the ball over a little too much in the first half,” said Kessler. “But we tried to vary our looks, weather we made the basket or missed the basket, to cause confusion. But Thompson just shot the ball really nice.”
Brett Lew found his way to the bucket twice in the first half and three times in the second 18 minutes to finish with 13 points to lead the Mounders. In his 33 minutes of play, Lew forced two steals, a deflection, four defensive rebounds and two assists.
Colfax junior Ed Hydukovich finished his evening with eight points, four assists and three blocks. In a first-half highlight, Hydukovich fought off two Elk Mound defenders before reaching up to tip the ball in and through the net.
The Mounders’ Cade Hanson tried to work around defenders all evening but managed only four points in the first half of Monday evening’s contest, each within two minutes of one another. Hanson however did have two deflections, one assist and a rebound for Elk Mound.
Elk Mound called their first time out of the first half after Ben Thompson had sunk another two points and found themselves down by nine points. The Mounders went on the attack following the time out and scored nine points to the Vikings’ four off shots from Ryan Bohl, Colton Ward and Nate Lew.
After an injury in the game against Bloomer, Colfax’s Luke Heidorn didn’t let it affect him as he was cleared by medical trainers, according to coach Maas. Heidorn came out and sank the first two points of the half. Heidorn had a rather quiet evening shooting wise with two doubles, a trey and was two-of-five from the line, but kept his defensive presence known with seven rebounds and a deflection.
Colton Ward and Jake Mentzel each had six points for Elk Mound. Mentzel hit two from outside the arc and tallied a defensive rebound and block while Ward had three doubles, two assists and a mid-court steal mid-court from Ben Thompson. The steal led to one of Ward’s second-half baskets.
Jackson Hellmann and Cole Seehaver were the last of the Vikings to score. Seehaver sank his last points of the game with six minutes left and Hellmann hit his five points all within a minute of each other with two doubles and a bonus shot. Seehaver finished his evening with seven points off two doubles and a trey as well as three assists and a steal. Hellmann had two rebounds and an assist.
Contributing to Elk Mound’s final tally were teammates Ryan Bohl with a triple and was two-of-two from the line, Nate Lew with two buckets and Rian Flynn with a single double in the second half. Bohl also had one deflection and steal, Lew had three assists, five rebounds, and three steals, while Flynn had three assists and a deflection.
“Credit to them (Colfax), they’ve only lost one game all year long, so they have some good talent and disciplined in what they do,” Kessler stated. “I was really proud of how our kids battled.”
The win was the Vikings boys’ 13th consecutive at the time. They later extended it to 15 with wins over Mondovi and Durand later in the week.
With three wins last week, Colfax remained in first place with an 11-1 conference mark and an overall record of 18-1.
The Mounders were upset Thursday in a road game at Glenwood City but snapped their three-game losing skid with a win in Mondovi on Friday. Elk Mound is 6-6 in D-SC play and 8-11 overall.
COLFAX 66, ELK MOUND 51
Elk Mound.…..…….27 24 – 51
Colfax….….….……31 35 – 66
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Elk Mound — R. Bohl 1-2-3-5, R. Flynn 1-0-2-1, N. Lew 2-0-2-4, C. Ward 3-0-2-6, C. Hanson 2-0-0-4, B. Lew 5-0-0-13, J. Mentzel 2-0-0-6, M. Kinblom 5-1-3-11.
Colfax — B. Thompson 13-1-0-29, C. Seehaver 3-0-0-7, G. Scharlau 3-0-2-8, E. Hydukovich 3-2-1-8, J. Hellman 2-1-1-5, L. Heidorn 3-2-4-9.
EM — R. Bohl 1, B. Lew 3, J. Mentzel 2; C — B. Thompson 2, C. Seehaver 1, G. Scharlau 2, L. Heidorn 1.