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by Marlys Kruger
COLFAX — Although the extremely cold night didn’t seem to hinder the Elk Mound boys, it certainly didn’t help the Colfax team as the Mounders led from start to finish and blasted the Vikings 65-22 in the Vikings’ home gym January 18.
The Mounders used their famous 1-3-1 zone defense to keep Colfax off the scoreboard while they jumped out to a 10-0 lead with Sam Wenzel scoring six of those points. Bryce Sikora finally broke the ice for the Vikings on a drive through the lane but the Mounders responded with an eight point run on a Kaden Russo put back and a free throw, a triple from Aiden Bartholomew and a Wenzel shot from under the hoop.
After Nate Hydukovich hit a short jumper for the Vikings, the Mounders forced them into several turnovers and they took advantage of every one. They went on another scoring streak starting with three consecutive shots from behind the arc by Russo and a fast break bucket by Wenzel to open up a 29-4 advantage.
Elijah Entzminger stopped the bleeding temporarily for Colfax with a triple but a pair of free throws from Wenzel upped the lead to 31-7. The Vikings showed their only real spark of the contest when Austin Swanson scored in the lane twice and Sikora drained a trey and a short jumper to cut the Mounder lead to 33-16 but that would be all the points they would score in the half. The Mounders had somewhat of a cold streak for the next few minutes as they mis-fired on five- three point attempts, but the Vikings couldn’t take advantage by getting the ball in their own hoop. Ethan Johnson dropped in a bucket and Jerome Delikowski hit a pair of freebies for Elk Mound to send the teams into intermission with the Mounders holding a commanding 37-16 lead.
“It was another one of those nights when we couldn’t get the ball in the basket,” Colfax coach Mark Noll said.
“The Mounders’ defense contested many of our shots but we missed a lot of wide open ones. We were on a three game win streak but had to miss two games last week with COVID issues and it’s like we were starting the season all over again,” he added.
The Vikings forced a couple of Mounder turnovers on their full court trapping defense to start the second half but couldn’t take advantage of them, while the Mounders were making the most of several Viking errors and missed shots. Wenzel scored in the paint followed by a Johnson bucket and a trey from Ryan Bartig for a 44-16 Elk Mound lead.
Kyle Irwin and Tristan Lenz both dropped in a close range shot for Colfax but that was countered by Russo’s fourth shot from downtown for the contest. The only points scored the rest of the way for the Vikings came from Nick Jensen’s drive through the lane with around two minutes to go in the game. Before that shot, the Mounders continued to add points as Delikowski had his way in the paint with four buckets, Wenzel added five more on a deuce and a triple and Will King and Bartholomew both scored a bucket from close range as the game was in running clock mode at around the four minute mark. Nathan Svee finished off the 43-point win for the Mounders with a final close range shot.
“It was sure nice to get Delikowski back from an ankle injury and Bartig back after being out last week,” Mounder coach Michael Kessler said.
“I thought our kids handled the Colfax pressure well in the full court and the half court. We were able to compact their zone and made a lot of great decisions in traffic, finding the right guys. Our kids were very unselfish with the ball and we were able to apply some pressure ourselves on the defensive end. Brex Todd impacted the game so much on the defensive end by flying around all night and forcing a ton of turnovers which led to some easy baskets in transition. I thought we rebounded better as a whole tonight,” he concluded.
Russo was high man for the Mounders with 21 points while eight other players added points. Wenzel tossed in 14, Delikowski 12, Bartholomew five, Johnson four, Bartig three, and King, Svee and Todd all had two. Elk Mound was 5-for-12 at the foul stripe with five triples.
Colfax was led by Sikora with seven points, Swanson tacked on five and Entzminger, the Vikings leading scorer was held to a single three pointer. Hydukovich, Irwin, Lenz, and Jensen all finished with two points. Colfax didn’t help themselves by missing all nine of their free throw attempts and hitting just two triples in the game.