SPIRIT LAKE - Estherville Lincoln Central stuck with Spirit Lake for most of their game. But Spirit Lake took advantage of ELC miscues and empty offensive possessions to turn a five-point advantage with 2:20 left in the third quarter into a 55-30 win last Saturday.
Two free throws by Caitlyn Clayton had ELC trailing 30-25 at the 22:0 mark of the third quarter.
Clayton scored the only other basket of the quarter for ELC while the Indians went on a 7-2 run capped by a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Bailee Newman.
That seemed to spark the Indians while ELC just couldn't score in the final frame. The Midgets had just one free throw by Megan Jensen until Molly Diekmann hit the only field goal of the period with under 30 seconds left in the game.
ELC started well enough against Spirit Lake and led 7-4 after a 3-pointer by Hallie Jensen.
But Spirit Lake rallied to take a lead with ELC having its last lead of the night at 9-8 after a basket by Clayton. However Newman hit a shot to give the Indians a 10-9 lead after one quarter. ELC kept the game close despite junior Megan Jensen picking up two quick fouls and going to the bench in the first couple minutes.
Jensen reentered the game in the third quarter and promptly picked up her third foul with Spirit Lake leading 14-9.
ELC still trailed by five, 18-13 with 4:22 left in the second quarter, but two free throws by Carson Gjerde and a basket by Clayton cut the lead to 18-17.
However, the Indians scored the final six points of the half on two free throws by Bailey Loveall and four points from Emma Dau. Dau had 13 of her game-high 24 points in the first quarter.
Free throws kept the game close for ELC as they finished 8-of-10 from the line with Colleen Humble making 6-of-8.
ELC didn't do as well from the line in the second half and finished 13-of-23 on free throws. The Indians were 15-of-28.
Clayton led ELC with 12 points while Gjerde and Humble each had six, Hallie Jensen had three, Diekmann had two and Megan Jensen had one.
Besides Dau's 24, Loveall finished with eight points, Newman had seven, Macy Smith had five, Carly Items had four, Abbey Horseman had there and Mackenzie Thate and Joie Veldman each had two.
ELC (0-9) begins 2014 at home against LeMars on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Spirit Lake (4-2 overall, 2-2 in the Lakes) hosts Spencer on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.