Colby cut down by Columbus Catholic
The Colby Hornets opened up their conference and regular season, with a road test against the Columbus Catholic Dons in Marshfield on Tuesday, Dec. 2.
The Dons made it all the way to the WIAA Division 5 state game last season, but lost seven seniors, and with them, the majority of its starters.
Colby has lost several starters as well, with Sawyer Stuttgen, Matt Roth and Matt Stewart all gone to graduation, but returns two starters from last year’s squad and plenty of fresh, new talent.
That combination of experience and the infusion of new faces allowed the Hornets to battle with the Dons all game long. In the end, it would take something special to prevent the Hornets from notching the upset - and handing Columbus Catholic its second conference loss in 65 Cloverbelt contests.
It would take a record setting night from Tommy Nystrom to allow the Dons to pull away from Colby late in the second half, as the Hornets, in spite of turnovers and cold shooting, were within eight points at 54-46 with three minutes to go.
That is, until Nystrom buried a three, part of a night where the hot-shooting senior tied a 28 year old school record for most threes in a single game. Nystrom finished with nine triples total - five in the first half and four in the second.
Even with Nystrom’s hot shooting, the Hornets played well, using their size, aggression and physicality to tire Columbus Catholic.
The Hornets showed off their balanced offense, with eight different players scoring. Leading Colby on the night was senior Harley Schmelzer, who scored 16 points.
Another senior, Noah Robida, provided a spark off the bench, scoring 10 points. The Hornets got a look at the future on Tuesday night as sophomore Brent Jeske scored eight points, all in the first half, but Jeske would go down with an ankle injury early in the second half, and his presence was sorely missed as the Dons continued to come up with big shots each time Colby attempted to make a run.
No other Hornet would score more than six points, with senior Connor Jeske being held to five points, all in the second half.
Richard Streveler buried a three from the corner, and finished with four points. Mason Schmutzler also had four points. Gavino Lopez added three points and Roman Schmitt finished with two points, But Nystrom’s threes, along with some help with Eden Jacobson who had ten points, allowed the Dons to escape Colby’s clutches for a 61-52 victory and drop the Hornets to 0-1 on the year.