COLFAX — For the second straight game, the Colfax-Mingo boys’ basketball team was in a tough, physical battle with a member of the South Iowa Cedar League’s East Division teams.
Four days after close road loss to East Division leader Keota, the Tigerhawks went down to the wire with Belle Plaine in front of a large home crowd. This time, Colfax-Mingo came out on top and battled through some adversity in doing so.
Five Tigerhawks scored in double figures, and the squad overcame 11 3-pointers from Belle Plaine during a 77-70 victory on Tuesday.
“I have preached for two years now that toughness wins games both mentally and physically. And it’s for those moments right there,” Colfax-Mingo coach Nick Noring said. “Things weren’t going there way and the crowd was getting ferocious. I didn’t want that to get in my players’ heads.
“We should have finished things like we did tonight against Keota on Friday, but to come back and play a similar game and win was huge.”
Colfax-Mingo’s seven-game win streak was snapped against Keota last week. The Tigerhawks began a new streak Tuesday and improved to 9-3 overall and 7-3 in the SICL.
Belle Plaine, which got 29 points from Garrett Straight and 22 points from Kobe Grieder, dropped to 7-5 overall and 7-3 in the conference.
Tuesday’s game was tight throughout. Belle Plaine led 20-15 after one quarter, but the Tigerhawks took a 31-30 lead into halftime. They extended the lead to 51-47 after three quarters and held off a late run by the Plainsmen to win a big one at home.
“It was a big win. We are still proving ourselves. There are folks out there that think we are pretty good but can’t beat the top tier teams in our conference,” Noring said. “We let one slip away against Keota, but we got one tonight.
“This is a big mojo win for us. We have been busting our tails for four days now and it paid off with a win.”
Grieder gave Belle Plaine a lead after one quarter after putting in 11 points in the first frame.
The Tigerhawks scored the final bucket of the first quarter and put in the first nine of the second to go up 24-20. Straight and Grieder combined for seven straight to put the visitors back in front, but a 3-pointer by senior Jarod Nichols tied the game 27-all.
Nichols finished with another double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
The Tigerhawks led by one at halftime. They opened the second half with a 3-pointer by senior Reegan Van Dyke and a layup by senior Jonathan Jacobs. Van Dyke and Jacobs each hit another bucket later in the quarter to put the home team up 41-35.
Jacobs finished with 16 points, three steals and eight assists and Van Dyke added 12 points and 10 boards. But it was sophomore Brady Berkey who took over in the third to give C-M it’s biggest lead of the night.
Berkey converted a 3-point play and then scored on back-to-back possessions to push the Tigerhawks’ lead to 48-40.
Berkey scored 16 of his season-high 18 points in the second half and added seven assists and two steals.
The Plainsmen got within four heading into the final quarter. They trimmed their deficit to one two separate times but a 3-pointer outside and a bucket inside the lane by Nichols pushed the advantage back to six.
Straight made sure Belle Plaine stayed close with a pair of buckets that pulled his team back to within two. Berkey hit 1-of-2 from the line and senior Alex Lewis hit a jumper to extend the advantage. Lewis was the fifth Tigerhawk in double digits with 13.
“We need to have this kind of balance from now on. We can’t just rely on just Jarod every night,” Berkey said. “He’s going to get his, but other guys need to step up and help him out.”
After Belle Plaine got back as close as one at 65-64, the two teams traded 3-pointers on four straight possessions. Lewis and Berkey connected for the Tigerhawks and Grieder hit both for Belle Plaine. Grieder nailed six treys in the game.
Berkey’s triple made it a four-point game, and the Tigerhawks finished off the win at the line after Belle Plaine turned it over on back-to-back possessions.
Colfax-Mingo had a 20-10 advantage in fouls called and the Tigerhawks attempted 14 more free throws. Three Plainsmen fouled out and one was called for an intentional foul against Berkey late in the fourth quarter.
“We kind of knew it from last year,” Berkey said about the fouls. “We watched the North Mahaska film, and they had three technicals in that one. We were prepared for this kind of game.
“We needed this one for postseason implications and even to get a higher finish in the conference. It was good to finish this one off.”
The Tigerhawks turned it over 18 times but had 22 assists on their 26 field goals.
Nichols now has 11 double-doubles in the Tigerhawks’ 12 games. His career point total moves to 960 and he has 726 career rebounds.
The Tigerhawks play Tri County at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Thornburg.
Belle Plaine 20-10-17-23 — 70
Colfax-Mingo 15-16-20-26 — 77
Belle Plaine (FG/3pt-FT-F-TP) — Trevin Straight 1-0-5-2, Tanner Meeks 0-0-1-0, Kobe Grieder 7/6-2-2-22, Garrett Straight 11/2-5-5-29, Anders Wilkie 1/1-0-0-3, Noah Bachelder 2/2-0-1-6, Dylan Fry 3-2-5-8, Caleb Grimes 0-0-1-0. Totals 25/11-9-20-70.
Colfax-Mingo — Brady Berkey 6/1-4-3-18, Misha Seebeck 2-0-1-4, Reegan Van Dyke 5/2-0-1-12, Jonathan Jacobs 5/1-5-1-16, Holister Koenig 0-0-1-0, Alex Lewis 3/2-5-0-13, Jarod Nichols 5/3-1-3-14. Totals 26/9-16-10-77.