COLFAX — Not even a strong shooting night from Baxter’s Eli Dee could get the Colfax-Mingo boys’ basketball team to get out of its zone defense on Friday night.
But without Dee’s big scoring night, the Bolts do not spoil the Tigerhawks’ Senior Night.
On a night when points were hard to come by, Dee’s 22 points and five made 3-pointers led Baxter to a 50-43 non-conference road win.
“We know that based on our numbers, playing a zone of some kind is probably what most teams will do against us,” Baxter head boys basketball coach Zach Hasselbrink said. “We couldn’t get the other guys outside of Eli going. That means they stayed in the zone and it made it tough for us all night.”
There were five lead changes and four ties in the first half. Baxter led 6-5 after one quarter after scoring the final three points of the frame.
The Bolts held the biggest lead of the first half after Dee’s second 3 of the night made it 12-7.
A 6-0 run by C-M later pushed the Tigerhawks to the lead. Joe Earles made a sharp cut to the hoop and converted the layup to start the stretch. Harrison Rhone then hit a fadeaway and Brandon Kite scored inside.
Baxter went into halftime with an 18-17 lead following a Ben Richardson 3.
“We had the same energy last night against a 10-win Sigourney team and had that game within grasp, too,” Colfax-Mingo head boys basketball coach Mike Hunsberger said. “They are learning what the level of energy is they have to bring to every minute of the game. That’s magnetic on the team. It’s what we wanted all season, and we wished we would have seen it earlier, but we are starting to see it.”
There were only two lead changes in the second half as Baxter slowly grabbed control.
Earles scored early in the third to put C-M back in front 19-18, but a 9-0 run by the Bolts pushed them back to the lead at 27-19.
The run featured a bucket inside and a 3 by Dee. He made another 3 later that answered five straight points from C-M’s Cael Bracewell. And the lead stayed at six following baskets by Baxter’s Cainan Travis and Earles.
A runner by Dee helped Baxter maintain its six-point lead after three.
“A win is a win. We’ll take it,” said Dee, who was 5-of-11 from 3 in the game. “We’ve had trouble with the zone so I needed to try to shoot us out of it. Last game I was 0-for-6. They went down tonight.”
The Bolts’ largest lead of the game was 41-28 and it came after a basket by Perrin Sulzle and a 3 and layup by Dee.
Bracewell did his best to keep C-M in the game. His triple and putback trimmed the margin to 10 twice and then he made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line following a technical foul. Another 3 shortly after that got the Tigerhawks back to within six.
“They are playing hard,” Hunsberger said. “That’s what we ask for and they can hold their heads high and know we were in both of those games against good teams.”
Both teams missed six free throws in the game but ultimately the Bolts stayed in front because they were 7-of-9 from the foul line in the fourth and Richardson was 5-of-6 in the final minute.
Colfax-Mingo (5-14) was 4-of-8 from the foul line in the fourth and the closest it got down the stretch was five following a trey by Kite.
“We’d love to say we made all of our free throws, but we definitely made big ones late to help us win,” Hasselbrink said. “We’ll continue to emphasize them, but it’s the big ones down the stretch that can really matter and we made a lot of those.”
Neither team shot better than 32 percent from the floor. The Bolts were 6-of-20 from 3 and 12-of-18 from the foul line, while the Tigerhawks made 5-of-21 and 8-of-14, respectively.
“I told them in a huddle after our first six shots didn’t fall that I don’t know if we could have drawn it up any better,” Hasselbrink said. “We were just missing great looks.
“Kudos to them. They did a nice job in the zone and covered up a lot of things and places we wanted to get the ball to. But, I thought we had too many good looks to not say we should have done a lot better. We found a way down the stretch, went on a little run and made some big shots eventually.”
Dee led the Bolts (14-4) with 22 points and five rebounds and Treyton Travis finished with seven points, five rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.
Richardson chipped in 11 points and three rebounds, Sulzle collected six points, 10 rebounds, four steals and two assists and Cainan Travis posted four points, eight boards and three assists. Stadan Vansice grabbed three rebounds.
Both teams held their opponent’s leading scorers to single digits. Treyton Travis is averaging 22.6 points per game this season, while Colfax-Mingo’s Rhone was held to nine points under his season average.
“I thought our defense was good. We knew who he was,” Dee said about Rhone. “We had a game plan for him. We did well in the first half and we were able to get some steals and layups off the press. That definitely helped us.”
Bracewell finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists to lead the Tigerhawks, while Earles chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Kite added eight points, nine boards and two assists and Rhone registered four points, two rebounds, five assists and three steals. Kaden Dalton grabbed four boards.
The low-scoring game was in part due to strong defense by both teams, according to Hunsberger. He also thought his squad had good stretches of offense.
“We ran the offense pretty well at times,” Hunsberger said. “We had some stale moments on offense, too, and maybe let some things bother us. We have to be more hard-nosed than that.”
Notes: There were four technical fouls called in the game, three against Baxter and one on Colfax-Mingo. “Between the two teams, there wasn’t much controversy. It was more friendly banter I think,” Hasselbrink said. “It was the refs versus the coaching staff. Regardless of all of that, I thought we played the game the right way and tried to figure out what they would allow and wouldn’t allow. With this crew, it was a short leash. You couldn’t say or do anything. It’s unfortunate that it had to be like that.” … Bracewell recently returned from a week-long absence and Earles missed the early part of the season due to an injury. But the Tigerhawks are still missing starters Jared Lewis and Elias Hostetter. “We’ve had lineup changes throughout the season for many different reasons,” Hunsberger said. “We are still without our starting lineup that we had at the beginning of the season. They are still learning their roles, and we seem to have to reset before every game.” ... Nine C-M seniors were recognized before the game — Bracewell, Earles, Kite, Hostetter, Lewis, Kaden Dalton, Konner Dalton, Austin Lane and Logan Exley.
Sigourney 45, Colfax-Mingo 37
COLFAX — The Tigerhawks started fast against Sigourney, but a late surge by the Savages on Thursday pushed the visitors to a 45-37 win in South Iowa Cedar League play.
Colfax-Mingo led 13-7 after one, but the game was tied at 20-all at halftime. Sigourney won the third 9-7 and outscored the Tigerhawks 16-10 in the fourth.
Bracewell led the hosts with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Kaden Dalton added eight points and five rebounds, Kite tallied seven points and eight boards and Earles collected seven rebounds and two assists.
Rhone chipped in six points and two rebounds and Konner Dalton grabbed three boards.
The Tigerhawks (4-11 in the SICL) shot 31 percent from the floor, made 6-of-18 from 3 and buried 5-of-10 from the foul line.
Colfax-Mingo out-rebounded Sigourney 33-29 but turned the ball over 19 times. The Savages had a tough shooting night but committed only seven turnovers.
Sigourney (13-6, 10-6) was led by Issac Bruns’ 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The visitors shot 30.8 percent from the floor, made 6-of-25 from 3 and connected on 7-of-15 from the foul line. It was Sigourney’s seventh straight win.