Vikings fans had a lot to love on Valentine’s Day, as senior Ethan Streicher erupted for 28 points and scored his 1,000th career point to lead Edgewood-Colesburg (16-6) to a 68-29 trouncing of Clayton Ridge, at home. The win secured Ed-Co’s spot in the Class 1A District 6 semifinals (Feb. 19 against Easton Valley).
“Our focus was to play with intensity, pressure defense, force them to make quick decisions and be uncomfortable. (Clayton Ridge) really didn’t get an easy shot all night, and had to shoot a lot quicker and off balance. I thought we did a great job with that, and that really led to everything else happening for us,” coach Justin Olind said of his Vikings, who are looking for their second state appearance in school history after qualifying last season.
The Eagles drew first blood in the opening minute of play, but the Vikings responded with an 8-0 run and led 15-4 through the first quarter. Streicher began heating up from there, scoring double digit numbers in the second quarter alone while Ed-Co also capitalized on six trips to the line en route to taking a commanding 39-12 lead at halftime.
Everything that came after that was just icing on the cake for a Viking roster that has, to this point, found a way to overcome the loss of four seniors from last year’s squad while also compensating for the absence of Preston Rochford, who tore his ACL in the football playoffs last fall.
As he had done on the gridiron, Preston’s younger brother, Parker, took up the role of leading scorer this winter. The sophomore added 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals on the night as the Vikings kept the Eagles in check for the remainder of the game.
“(Preston) has done a really nice job from the sidelines and he’s as important to the team as ever — his role is just much different. Had he not torn his ACL, he would’ve been our returning first team all-Tri-Rivers. He probably would’ve been an all-state level guard,” Olind said.
Streicher drained career point number 1,001 on a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter. He landed three of eight from behind the arc for his 60th of the season — a school record. Another exciting moment came as senior Zach Knipper scored his very first field goal of the season in the final minutes of the game. Both achievements drew enthusiasm and applause from Viking fans and players.
“These guys play for each other, they play very unselfishly — and that’s what makes us dangerous,” Olind said. “Everybody understands that it’s for the guy next to you, for the guys on the bench, for everybody in our program. I really like where we’re at right now.”
With the win, the Vikings advanced to play Easton Valley (19-3) at Prince of Peace Feb. 19.