STORM LAKE - Estherville Lincoln Central and Storm Lake battled from start to finish and when the dust settled the Midgets had a 57-52 victory.
"We didn't play up to the way we'd like to play," said ELC coach Corey Christopher. "But when it needed to happen, we made the plays we had to."
David Hughes had a big night with 17 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Midgets.
"I thought David got better as the game went on," said Christopher. "He made some mistakes in the first half and was down at halftime. But he came up with some big plays in the fourth quarter."
The two teams were tied at 15-15 after one quarter with a 31-30 lead at halftime and a 44-43 lead after three quarters.
ELC led by six, 55-49 with 30 seconds left after two free throws by Carsten Bosch. The rest of the game's points came from the free throw line.
Justin Heinrichs finished with 15 points while Bosch had 12, Kyle DeVary had five, Clay Tredway had four, Joe Heinrichs had three and Noah Diekmann had two.
ELC was 19-of-36 from the free throw line.
Kouny Deng led Storm Lake with 30 points and 20 rebounds. The Tornadoes were 8-of-16 from the free-throw line.
ELC (4-2 overall, 1-1 in the Lakes Conference) is home against North Union on Monday. ELC is at Cherokee on Tuesday.
ELC loses Lakes opener, 59-55
Playing their third game in four nights, the Estherville Lincoln Central boys didn't look tired.
While the Midgets did again start slowly, ELC turned an 11-point halftime deficit into just one point with a 20-10 third quarter.
Neither team scored much in the final frame, but Spencer eventually pulled out a 59-55 win.
"This is a process," said ELC coach Corey Christopher. "We had some small victories tonight and the effort was outstanding. I thought we executed offensively and played excellent defense. We didn't give up as many downhill baskets.
"I'm happiest that we put an entire 32 minutes of defense together," he continued. "The fans saw a team take steps in the right direction."
ELC fell behind 13-4 in the first four minutes but baskets by Clay Tredway and Justin Heinrichs brought ELC back within five at 15-10. ELC trailed 19-12 after one quarter.
ELC struggled to get shots to fall in the second quarter, with Heinrichs and Bosch scoring most of the points on drives to the basket.
One night after going 10-of-10 from the free throw line against Pocahontas Area, ELC made just 3-of-10 in the first half.
While ELC trailed 37-26 at the break and the Tigers scored the first two baskets of the second half, ELC began its run. ELC cut into the lead when David Hughes converted a three-point play and followed it with a 3-pointer on the next possession that made it 43-40. After a basket by Bosch, Hughes' next basket cut the deficit to one, 45-44 with 30 seconds left in the period. Two free throws by Justin Heinrichs gave ELC its first lead at 46-45 with 7.4 seconds in the half. But an ELC foul led to two free throws by Spencer's Blake Illg to return the lead to Spencer. ELC had a chance to end the quarter with the lead on a Justin Heinrich's steal, but officials waved off his layup at the buzzer as leaving his hand too late.
Neither team scored much the first four minutes of the final frame with ELC holding a 50-49 lead after a basket by Justin Heinrichs.
Spencer retook the lead and ELC was hindered when starters Joe Heinrichs and Carsten Bosch both fouled out.
ELC still trailed by just three, 56-53 after a basket by Hughes with 32 seconds remaining. The lead was still three, 58-55, after Noah Diekmann put back an ELC miss with 9 seconds left in the contest. But ELC was forced to foul and Illg made one free throw to make it a two-possession game.
Hughes led ELC with 19 points while Justin Heinrichs had 14, Bosch had nine and Joe Heinrichs, Tredway and Diekmann each had four.
ELC struggled from the free throw line, making 9-of-18 while Spencer was 11-of-18.
ELC overcomes slow start to beat Poky, 71-59
For the fourth straight game, the Estherville Lincoln Central boys got off to a slow start. But for the third time this season, the Midgets overcame that as they improved to 3-1 with a 71-59 victory over Pocahontas Area.
The Indians jumped out to a 17-10 first quarter lead, but ELC came back to take a 35-31 lead at halftime with David Hughes scoring 13 of his 17 points in the first two periods. Meanwhile Justin Heinrichs scored 12 of his team-high 21 points in the first half.
The Midgets were helped by being perfect at the free throw line, going 10-of-10 during that stretch.
The second half started with a steal and layup by Clay Tredway, who moments later picked up his third foul.
Noah Diekmann came off the bench and provided a spark for the Midgets, as he scored some low-post baskets along with rebounding misses and putting them back in.
All 10 of his points came in the second half.
While ELC led 52-42 to start the final frame, Pocahontas Area made a late run. After taking a 50-51 lead after two free throws by Hughes, the Indians came up with a three-point play and a 3-pointer to cut the lead to three, 60-57, with 3:42 remaining in the game.
But the visitors would score just two more points while Heinrichs scored seven of the Midgets' final 11 points, including a 3-pointer with 54 seconds remaining that gave his team a 70-59 lead.
Joe Heinrichs was the fourth ELC player to reach double digits with 12 points. Tredway finished with four while Alex Miller had three and Rodrick Fuller and Kyle DeVary each had two.
ELC finished 16-of-20 from the free throw line while Pocahontas Area was 13-of-27.
The Indians were led by Tanner Youngberg with 25 points. Freshman Austin Roetman, who had 18 points in the first half, was held to just two baskets in the second as he finished with 22.
ELC holds on against GTRA, 77-72
In a fast-paced game, Estherville Lincoln Central held on for a 77-72 victory over Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire on Friday.
The visiting Titans jumped out to an 11-1 lead with seven points by Andy Geelan and two by Connor Sturgill.
But ELC suddenly ignited over the final 4 minutes of the first period and into the second as the Midgets put together a 22-0 run.
The run started with a pair of free throws by Carsten Bosch, who tied the game with a basket at 11-11 with 1:17 left in the first quarter. A three-point play by Joe Heinrichs followed by a basket by Clay Tredway gave ELC a 16-11 lead after one quarter.
Kyle DeVary sandwiched a pair of baskets around a 3-pointer by Justin Heinrichs as ELC scored the first seven points of the second quarter.
GTRA finally came out of its slump as the two teams battled evenly through the rest of the half with ELC leading 38-28 at the break.
In the third quarter, the Titans made a run as a basket by Trevor Enderson cut the lead to six points.
ELC responded by taking the ball to the basket as Joe Heinrichs, Justin Heinrichs and Carsten Bosch kept attacking the basket. ELC led 58-45 after three quarters.
But GTRA wouldn't go away in the fourth.
While ELC led by 12, 70-58 with about 4 minutes remaining, GTRA went on a 14-3 run, cutting the lead to one, 73-72, on Jared Sikora's only basket of the night with a little over a minute left in the game.
Two free throws by Justin Heinrichs with 1:05 remaining pushed the lead back to three. After a Titans miss, Joe Heinrichs made another free throw with 37 seconds remaining to push the lead to a two-possession game.
GTRA couldn't get the baskets they needed to fall.
Justin Heinrichs led ELC with 19 points while Bosch finished with 15 and Joe Heinrichs and David Hughes each had 12. DeVary and Tredway each had eight points and Rod Fuller had three.
Sturgill led the Titans with 17 points while Geelan had 16, Noah Stukey had 15 and Trevor Enderson had 10. Also, Mason McGrauth had seven points, Lane Reiman had five and Sikora had two.
ELC finished 13-of-27 from the free throw line while the Titans were 14-of-23.
GTRA runs past
St. Mary's, 81-53
RUTHVEN - St. Mary's hung with Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire for one quarter and then the Titans ran away from the Paners the rest of the game in an 81-53 victory on Tuesday.
The Titans led just 19-18 after one quarter, but outscored St. Mary's 25-12 in the second to lead 44-30 at halftime. GTRA expanded the lead to 64-52 by the start of the fourth quarter.
Noah Stukey poured in 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Andy Geelan also recorded a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds along with nine assists and three steals.
Mason McGrauth reached double digits with 11 points, Lane Reiman had nine points, seven rebounds and fur assists and Taylor Enderson had six points and four assists. Also, Jared Sikora had three points, Nick Josephson and Cole Hagedorn each had two points and Joe Tonderum had one.
Warriors come up short against Bison, 69-61
ARMSTRONG - North Union had its chances to pick up its first win of the season on Friday, but came up a few shots short in a 69-61 loss to North Iowa.
The Warriors led 18-16 after one quarter, but the Bison surged past the hosts to take a 35-29 lead at halftime. Both teams scored 14 points in the third quarter.
Aric Runge led North Union with 21 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. Jacob Braddock finished with 15 points, three assists and two steals.
Braden Ortman had eight points, Trent Pedersen had five, Colin Runksmeier had four and Corey Vaske, Alex Krantz and Eythan Blair each had two.
Neither team shot well from the free throw line with North Union converting on 15-of-28. North Iowa made 15-of-37.
North Union also went 0-of-12 from 3-point range while the Bison were 4-of-13.