The Dunn-St. Croix Conference was off to a bad start.
The league’s teams were 0-5 at the third-annual Northwest Tip Off Classic played at UW-Stout, with none of the earlier games finishing within 15 points.
Then enter reigning conference MVP George Scharlau — well, Scharlau and Ben Thompson — and the Dunn-St. Croix was finally in a competitive game. Colfax defeated McDonell 59-52, powered by Thompson’s 22 points and Scharlau’s 15.
McDonell’s J.D. Bohaty scored to make the score 6-2 within the first two minutes. That was the largest lead either team would see until late in the first half.
McDonell was in its third game since ending last season as the Division 5 state runner-up. The Macks got off to a quick start from deep, with Charlie Bleskachek and J.D. Bohaty both making a distance shot in the first two minutes. But Colfax was able to counter with a steady dose of Thompson and Scharlau. That was helped by the mismatches the pair caused.
“We’re both gonna face guards so we were just kind of on and off,” said Thompson.
Cory Hoglund went on a personal 6-0 run to force the sixth lead change of the game with 3:47 left in the half. That’s when Scharlau picked up the aggressiveness. The Concordia-St. Paul commit had the final six points for Colfax in the first half.
“I kinda felt the game was getting closer,” said Scharlau. “And I thought I had to do my best to not let that happen.”
In total, the lead changed seven times in the first half. Hoglund, who ended the day with 17 points, scored six early in the second half to pull the Macks back within one.
From there, the second half would be about managing foul trouble. Six of McDonell’s key rotation players had at least three fouls in the game, including Hoglund, Bohaty and Bleskachek. That created some mismatches that allowed Thompson and Scharalu to combine for 18 of Colax’s 33 second half points. That also led to a larger number of Colfax free throws. Colfax ended the contest 18 of 30 from the line while McDonell was 10 of 12.
Jaebin Bourget hit a pair of free throws to make the score 51-49 with 2:07 left, but that’s as close it would get with Luke Heindor hitting a 3-pointer before Scharlau and Jackson Hellman sealed the game with free throws.
For Colfax coach Garrett Maas, it was a third quality win to start the season after wins against Thorp and Ellsworth.
“I was really worried about our legs and it showed.” said Maas,. “I thought tonight was a real good team win.”
With a tight contest behind them, it gives the Vikings good momentum with conference play beginning on Tuesday when they go to Spring Valley.
In other Northwest Tipoff action:
Cadott 57, Elmwood/Plum City 39
Mason Poehls had 13 points in the first half, including a stretch where he had 11 of 12 points. Coy Bowe added 8 in the second half to give the Hornets their second win of the season,
Unity 71, Boyceville 29
The Eagles scored the first 11 points of the game and 15 of the first 20 to build a 35-13 halftime lead. Cullen Feist had13 points in the first half before Dan Sorenson scored 17 in the second half to extend the lead.
Bloomer 74, Stanley-Boyd 27
Bloomer scored 24 of the first 27 points of the game and had a first half lead as large as 23. Bradley Sarauer lead the way with a game-high 21 points.
Thorp 62, Mondovì 43
Avery Hoepner and Owen Schultz both had 17 for the Buffaloes, but a 30-11 run to end the game aided to Cardinals to win in a game that had 13 lead changes. Ethan Reis had six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 22 points.
Altoona 67, Elk Mound 49
Altoona had built a 27-12 lead in the first half, including a stretch where the Mounders had one point goal. Reese Martin and Jake Meyer both had ten to pace the Railroaders. Rian Flynn had 14 for the Mounders.
Fall Creek 57, Spring Valley 35
Spring Valley started the game off with an 8-2 lead before Fall Creek’s David Anderson gave the Crickets’ their first lead with 10:23 left in the first half. Fall Creek led the rest of the way, paced by Anderson’s 22 points.
The last two scheduled games — Regis vs. Prescott and Osseo-Fairchild vs. Clear Lake were postponed due to weather.