Edgewood-Colesburg’s varsity girls’ basketball team lost a pair of close contests coming out of the Christmas break, before dropping road contests at Alburnett and North Linn later in the week to fall to 0-12, but there are positive signs that point to the Vikings breaking into the win column.

Central City won a tough 53-45 decision over the Vikings, in Edgewood, Jan. 5, a night after Central Elkader used a strong second-half effort to rally for a 58-52 win, at Colesburg Elementary, Jan. 4.

Ed-Co got off to a terrific start against an athletic Central City team, sparked by sophomore Addy Kirby’s 11 first-quarter points, on the way to a 19-16 advantage after eight minutes. Freshman Marin Gaul’s three-ball pushed the lead to 22-16 one minute into the second period, but that was the only field goal of the quarter for the Vikings as Central City took a 29-24 lead to the half.

The Wildcats led by nine, 39-30, after five minutes of play in the third quarter before Gaul scored against the press and Kirby and Ella Aulwes hit three-pointers to close the gap to 40-38 heading to the fourth.

Gaul’s put-back basket tied things at 40-40 with 5:40 remaining, but a four-minute scoring drought allowed Central City to regain control at 48-40. Aulwes’ three cut the gap to five, 48-43, with 1:30 to go, but that was as close as the Vikings would get.

Coach Steve Putz was happy with the effort and the way his team is progressing.

“The girls started well and played a solid first quarter of basketball. That type of playing is what we need to continue for four quarters,” Putz said. “The girls did a nice job of battling back from a very slow second quarter and ending up tying the score in the fourth quarter.

“From there, the turnovers really hurt us and we needed to foul to stop the clock. The end result was a loss that really didn’t reflect the performances given for the majority of the game. The girls are learning a lot from these close games. They are beginning to recognize we are getting better, we are competing, and we are making our opponents work. We are building a great foundation and I have faith in all the girls that with their hard work good things are coming.”

Ed-Co statistics against Central City: scoring — Kirby 14, Gaul 13, Aulwes 12, Audrie Helmrichs four, Annie Hoffman two; three-point goals — Aulwes and Kirby two, Gaul one; rebounds — Helmrichs 10, Gaul six, Hoffman and Kirby four, Alex Schmitz one; assists — Aulwes, Gaul and Kirby three, Helmrichs and Hoffman two; steals — Helmrichs three, Aulwes and Gaul two, Hoffman and Kirby one; team shooting — 17-of-45 (37.8%); team free throws — six-of-nine (66.7%); turnovers — 26.

The Vikings played a nice first half against Central, and took a 28-21 halftime lead, before the Warriors narrowed the gap to 42-41 after three periods.

Central then outscored Ed-Co 17-10 in the final eight minutes to take home a 58-52 win.

“I thought we came out focused and ready to play. We finally had a successful first half of basketball,” said Putz. “We executed defensively the way we wanted for three quarters, but in that fourth quarter, we fell short both offensively and defensively. We need to find a way to put together all the pieces and execute a full game plan to win.

“I was really happy to see balanced scoring in this game. We had three players in double digits and scored fairly evenly from both the inside and the outside. Our goal is to take the momentum into the rest of the week and keep getting better.”

Ed-Co statistics against Central Elkader: scoring — Kirby 15, Aulwes 12, Helmrichs 11, Hoffman nine, Gaul five; three-point goals — Kirby three; rebounds — Helmrichs six, Hoffman and Kirby four, Gaul three, Aulwes two, Schmitz and Mikayla Thein one; assists — Aulwes five, Gaul four, Helmrichs, Kirby and Schmitz one; steals — Aulwes three, Gaul and Kirby two, Helmrichs and Schmitz one; team shooting — 18-of-38 (47.4%); team free throws — 13-of-19 (68.4%); turnovers — 25.

A 40-19 mid-game run was the deciding factor at Alburnett, Jan. 8, as the Pirates cruised to a 52-37 win. The Vikings had three players in double figures, but only four players scored in the contest.

Ed-Co statistics against Alburnett: scoring — Aulwes 12, Helmrichs and Hoffman 11, Kirby three; three-point goals — Aulwes and Kirby one; rebounds — Hoffman 15, Helmrichs eight, Aulwes five, Kirby three, Gaul two; assists — Aulwes two, Kirby, Helmrichs and Schmitz one; steals — Aulwes four, Hoffman three, Helmrichs one; team shooting — 13-of-43 (30.2%); team free throws — nine-of-14 (64.2%); turnovers — 21.

In a make-up game at North Linn, Jan. 9, the Vikings were even with the defending Class 2A State Champions after a quarter, 14-14, and trailed only 29-22 at halftime. The Lynx went on a 29-9 third-quarter run to break the game open on the way to a 77-43 win.

Freshman Helmrichs led the Vikings with a double-double, scoring a career-high 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, while Aulwes was in double figures with 16 points.

Chloe Van Etten led all scorers with 19 points for the Lynx.

Ed-Co statistics against North Linn: scoring — Aulwes and Helmrichs 16, Gaul six, Kirby three, Hoffman two; three-point goals — Aulwes two, Kirby one; rebounds — Helmrichs 13, Hoffman six, Kirby five, Gaul four, Aulwes three, Schmitz one; assists — Aulwes and Hoffman two, Gaul and Kirby one; steals — Aulwes and Helmrichs four, Schmitz, Kirby, Hoffman and Emma Pape one; team shooting — 16-of-52 (30.8%); team free throws — 8-of-19 (42.1%); turnovers — 19.