Cotter defenders are all over Cole Kruger as he stops to put up a shot. Hayfield lost to Winona 62-59. Photo by Mary Nelson
By Chris Pack
The Winona Cotter Ramblers came to Hayfield for the last time in the near future as they are leaving the HVL to join the Three Rivers Conference. The Viking boys fell behind early again to the Ramblers by a score of 16-9. The Vikings charged back though and took a 31-23 halftime lead. Hayfield scored the first seven points of the second half to build their biggest lead at 38-23. Cotter then responded and gradually chipped away before taking their first second half lead with about three minutes left. After the Vikings regained the lead, Cotter scored a basket with 40 seconds left to take a 60-59 lead. On the ensuing possession, Hayfield was called for an offensive foul. After the Ramblers made two free throws to build a three point lead, the Vikings missed three shots in the last 10 seconds that would have tied the game and the Ramblers held on for a 62-59 win. Cole Kruger led the Vikings with 21 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. He was 14-18 from the free throw line, as the Vikings made 21-30 for the game from the charity stripe. Jeremy Stuart added 14 points and seven rebounds. The Vikings traveled to Kasson on Tuesday to play the Komets and then go to Byron on Friday to take on the #2 ranked Bears. Hayfield is now 13-5 on the season, 6-3 in the HVL Gold.