By Becky Walz,
Looking to start the postseason run with a hot start, the Decorah boys’ basketball team did just that, defeating Independence 69-46 Monday night at home in the Substate 3 quarterfinal.
Independence ends the season 8-14 overall. Decorah improves to 16-6 overall and faces Crestwood (13-6) in the substate semifinal today, Thursday, Feb. 25, in Cresco at 7 p.m.
The winner moves on to face the winner of Western Dubuque (16-4) or Waverly-Shell Rock (12-10) in the substate final Monday, March 1, at 7 p.m. The substate champion advances to the state tournament, which runs March 8-13 in Des Moines at the Wells Fargo Arena.
In Monday’s quarterfinal, it was all Decorah firing on all cylinders as Briggs Duwe hit the first two shots of the contests. From there six other Vikings connected for baskets, pushing the Red and Blue out front 23-8 after the first quarter.
Moving into the second, Decorah went on an 8-0 run with shots made by Joe Bockman, Jacob Pipho and two by Carson Wemark, extending the home team advantage to 31-8 with 4:34 left. Independence finally got back on the board with 4:21 left with a pair of charity tosses after nearly an eight-minute drought. At the half, Decorah led 44-18.
The Mustangs were never able to get back in the contest, trialing 58-30 at the end of the third.
Nine different Vikings scored on the night. Charlie Robinson led the way with 20 points to go with four rebounds and two steals. Adding 14 points was Bockman. Duwe was also in double figures with 10 points and eight rebounds. Putting up eight points and dishing out five assists was Pipho, while Wemark added six points and 10 boards to the stat sheet.
This will be the third meeting between Decorah and Crestwood this season. The Vikes beat the Cadets 69-51 at home Jan. 21 on senior night and edged them out 52-51 in Cresco Feb. 16, to win the NEIC title. Crestwood defeated Charles City 73-68 in the other district semifinal.