Just as the spring thaw hit Wisconsin, the Colfax Vikings boys basketball team saw their injury-plagued season come to an end.
The Vikings traveled to Glenwood City to take on the Hilltoppers on Tuesday and despite a series of setbacks this year, put for a strong effort and fought diligently, going down 56-49.
Coach Garrett Maas’ Vikings end the year at 10-13 with a 7-7 record in conference that put them in fourth place.
The Vikings came out initially quite strong. The Hilltoppers played tentatively at the start, as senior Riley Schutz played his last home game even as he pursued a 1,000 point scoring career.
An opening basket from sophomore Ed Hydukovich was soon followed by an aerial assault of 3-pointers from junior Jackson Hellman. Before the 13th minute of the game, Hellman had posted nine points from the arc and left the Hilltoppers reeling.
At the same time, Glenwood struggled to adjust defensively, and Schutz worked hard inside the point but met with early frustration. The score was now 13-9 in favor of Colfax with just five minutes passed.
The Hilltopper struggles continued as junior Dillon Hierlmeier had early turnover and foul trouble which saw Colfax increase their lead. Hilltopper junior Hadin DeSmith made a 3-pointer, but Hellman answered back and the score was now 12-19.
Glenwood coach Tristan Kittilson switched defenses and a modified zone helped contain Colfax’s outside shooting. Schutz, however, continued to struggle for points and picked up his second foul with nine minutes left. Hellman hit yet another Viking triple to extend their lead to 22-14.
At this point, Glenwood began to pound the lane and saw slashing movement from junior Tanner Davis, Schutz, and Desmith to claw back within six at 20-26.
Some defensive pressure also saw the Hilltoppers string together some steals which led to layups. After a foul on Hierlmeier, the Hilltoppers inbound the ball to Schutz who scored to move three points from 1,000 and bring the lead to 26-27.
Schutz soon saw himself pick up a third foul before the break as he fought for possession and he sat for the rest of the half. Glenwood and the Colfax traded baskets and the game went to halftime at 31-28 in favor of Colfax.
The second half started equally promising for the Vikings. They went out to an early seven point lead on a senior Ben Thompson basket. Yet DeSmith responded with a trey and Glenwood’s defense had adjusted to limit the Viking exterior shooting.
Schutz soon found another two points on an inbound play and was now one point from the record. Hydukovich answered back with a basket and Glenwood City senior Peter Hill managed to block a pivotal Viking basket, only to then foul junior Luke Heidorn who converted both free throws to move the Vikings up 39-33.
Throughout the game, the Hilltoppers looked tense and played careful. Now, Colfax turned to burn time with 11 minutes left on the clock. A short rest for the Hilltoppers allowed them to calm down and Schutz found himself open from the arc to hit a clutch three pointer and make it to 1,000 points with 10:45 left in the game.
The pressure on Glenwood now seemed to ease and the offense opened up. Schutz quickly converted another inside basket and followed it up with a steal. A Colfax turnover and another Schutz basket saw Glenwood take their first lead of the game 41-42.
Baskets from Hydukovich would keep Colfax in the running down the stretch, but the Hilltopper lead would slowly grow. Two pivotal plays of the game came when Hill managed a wide open three pointer to move Glenwood ahead by two with 7:20 to play. The Vikings moved back within two, but Schutz came up big again to drive to the basket, complete the play, and move to the free throw line having been fouled. He converted and the score moved to 50-45.
Hydukovich kept the Vikings in the game with another two, but Davis forced a jump ball and Glenwood now gained possession.
The game now turned into a war of attrition as the Vikings were forced to foul. Glenwood struggled from the line a bit, but the Vikings were unable to convert any outside shots to bring the game back within reach. A series of fouls continued the pattern and the score ended 49-56.
Colfax was led in scoring by Hellman with 16 point, Hydukovich with 14, Thompson and Treyton Teige with seven, Heidorn with four and Noah Albricht with one.