If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Amber Hayden
MENOMONIE — A slow start and a physical Clear Lake squad that capitalized time and again inside the paint proved lethal for Colfax and its state tournament aspirations.
The Viking boys’ basketball team fell behind early and trailed by double digits throughout much of the first half of last Thursday evening’s WIAA Division 4 boys’ sectional semifinal contest played at Menomonie High School against last year’s state qualifiers from Clear Lake.
Colfax rallied to cut its deficit to six points with just under six minutes remaining in the game, but the Warriors sprinted to the finish, outscoring the Vikings 18 to 6 the rest of the way to claim a 67-49 victory in the March 7 playoff battle and earned a second straight berth in the sectional championship.
“Clear Lake was much more physical than us, they did a good job of attacking us in the paint,” Colfax head coach Garrett Maas explained. “I was very proud of how our kids kept fighting throughout the game.”
“Our game was a great atmosphere for our kids,” Maas said. “Even though we came up short, it will be something that our kids will remember the rest of their lives.”
Senior and two-time Dunn-St. Croix player of the year, George Scharlau, led Colfax with 20 points while classmate Luke Heidorn added 13 points but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Warriors’ scoring triumvirate of Bryce Hacker, Bailey Blanchard and Marshall Cain who netted all but eight of Clear Lake’s final tally with 24, 18 and 17 points respectively.
Clear Lake opened the game with an 11-2 run which ended when junior Ed Hydukovich finally netted Colfax its second basket of the evening at 12:03 to bring it to 11-4, but the Warriors answered back with two more hoops to lead 15-4 with ten minutes left in the first half.
Hydukovich was one of four players who scored throughout the two 18 minute periods with three doubles and was three-of-four from the charity stripe to finish with nine points. He also defensive and offensive rebound and a single steal.
Hoops by Ben Thompson and Luke Heidorn helped to bring the Colfax deficit under ten points, 17-8, with 8:15 left in the half, but the Warriors scored two buckets over the next two minutes to stretch their advantage back to a 13-point gap at 21-8.
Heidorn and Scharlau in return, hit threes to bring the spread back to nine, 23-14, with 5:15 remaining.
Heidorn scored a nifty lay in while falling backwards to put the Vikings within seven points at 25-18 at 3:10. But Clear Lake answered with a three to push the lead back out to ten points. Hydukovich made a basket for 28-20 at 2:35.
As the game went into halftime, the Vikings found themselves down by ten points and a score of 32-22. Neither team was whistled for many fouls in the first half of play. Colfax had two on senior Ben Thompson and Clear Lake had two as well on players Drew Niles and Kincaid Hughes.
As the second half got underway, the Warriors were able to push their lead to 15 points, 41-26, in the first four minutes before Colfax began to slowly whittle away at the deficit, cutting it to nine points (45-36) with just under ten minutes to go in the game.
With Clear Lake still leading with seven minutes to go, senior George Scharlau, Luke Heidorn and Ben Thompson helped the Vikings make one final rally attempt.
Scharlau, who was fouled shooting a three, canned all three foul shots at 8:20 which pulled the Vikings to within eight at 47-39. Heidorn and then Thompson scored baskets over the next couple of minutes to bring Vikings within six points of the Warriors, 49-43 with 5:45 left.
But that was as close as Colfax would get in the remaining minutes.
Thompson, unfortunately, didn’t see his first points until the second half of the contest as he was well guarded by the Warrior’s defense. In the second half of the contest Thompson netted a trey and two doubles for the Vikings, as well as getting two rebounds, an assist and two deflections.
The Warriors re-expanded their advantage to ten, 55-45, with just over three minutes remaining before exploding to finish on a 12-4 run over the final minutes to end to the Vikings 20-game winning streak and season with the 67-49 win.
With the loss to Clear Lake, the Vikings closed a stellar 2018-19 season with a 23-2 record and conference and regional championships.
“I am very proud of the boys and what they accomplished this season,” stated Maas. “They tied the school record with fewest losses in a season and was one win away from tying the record for most wins.”
Scharlau hit the backboards for six doubles, netted a lone trey, was five-of-five from the line, along with six rebounds, two deflections and two blocks, while Heidorn sank four doubles, a trey, was two-of-two from the foul line, one defensive rebound, three assists, a deflection and one steal.
Both teams hit for a trio of three-pointers.
The Vikings will lose five players to graduation this May including Ben Thompson, George Scharlau, Trevor Rothbauer, Jackson Hellmann and Luke Heidorn.
COLFAX 49, CLEAR LAKE 67
Colfax.….….……22 27 – 49
Clear Lake…………32 35 – 67
TEAM STATISTICS (FG-FT-F-TP)
Colfax — B. Thompson 3-0-2-7, G. Scharlau 7-5-3-20, E. Hydukovich 3-3-0-9, L. Heidorn 5-2-1-13.
Clear Lake — B. Hacker 12-0-1-24, M. Cain 8-0-1-17, K. Hughes 1-0-3-3, B. Blanchard 9-0-0-18, T. Blanchard 2-0-0-5.
THREE-POINTERS C — B. Thompson 1, G. Scharlau 1, L. Heidorn 1; CL — M. Cain 1, K. Hughes 1, T. Blanchard 1.