SPENCER - With her teammates struggling to score, Estherville Lincoln Central's Emily Kirchner took over.
The 5-8 senior forward scored 26 points as the Midgets defeated Spencer 37-29 on Friday to sweep the season series with the Tigers.
"She kind of took over and sensed that she needed to," said ELC coach Tony Klein.
ELC’s Emily Kirchner lit up the Spencer gym for 26 points in Friday’s 37-29 victory over the Tigers.
EDN photo by David Swartz
Part of the Midgets' struggles could be traced to foul trouble by ELC 6-foot center Allie Sievert. She sat the final 4 minutes of the first half after picking up her third foul and picked up her fourth foul just 2 minutes into the third quarter.
She went to the bench until the 5-minute mark in the fourth quarter. Sievert had scored 27 points in the team's first meeting and was held scoreless on Friday.
ELC's offense may not have been there, but the Midgets' defense kept the Tigers from scoring too.
Trailing 4-1 early, ELC took its first lead on a 3-pointer by Macy Dahl at 5-4. But after two free throws by Casey Sievert pushed the lead to 3, Spencer's Kirstin Martindale hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 7-7.
That was the score after one quarter and Kirchner started the second with a three-point play. But Spencer's Alexa Allen hit a 3-pointer tie the game.
ELC again took a 3-point lead later in the period, 14-11, but Martindale hit another 3-pointer to tie the game. Allen then hit her second as Spencer led 17-14 at the break.
Kirchner went to work in the third quarter. The senior scored the first five points to give ELC a 19-7 lead. The Tigers answered with a basket to tie the game, but Kirchner scored twice more to push the lead to four.
A late steal and jumper by Sara Heywood gave ELC a 27-21 lead after three quarters.
The Tigers rallied in the fourth to tie the game at 27-27 and 29-29.
ELC's defense clamped down in the final three minutes and Kirchner scored the next six points to help ELC get the victory.
Heywood finished with six points while Dahl had three and Casey Sievert had two. Casey Sievert also had three assists and Kirchner had two steals.
ELC (14-2 overall, 8-1 in the Lakes Conference) hosts Storm Lake on Tuesday.