Estherville Lincoln Central gave a good effort against Class 1A No. 2 Newell-Fonda The Midgets rallied all the way back from a 15-point deficit early in the second quarter taking a brief lead early in the fourth quarter with chances to extend their advantage.
But the visiting Mustangs made enough plays down the stretch and Justin Heinrich's 3-pointer at the buzzer feel short as Newell-Fonda escaped town with a 69-66 victory.
"They're fundamentally as good as any team we've seen," said ELC coach Corey Christopher. "It just took us too long to get going. We played a different game the last 12 minutes and it's unfortunate that it took us that long to get in the flow."
ELC senior Joe Heinrichs (4) soars in for two points against Newell-Fonda as teammate Rodrick Fuller (14) watches the play from behind. To see more photos, go to cu.esthervillenews.net.
Photo by David Swartz
Newell-Fonda may have done some things from preventing the Midgets from getting the flow.
Leading by seven, 38-31, at halftime, the Mustangs patrolled the passing lanes with a vengeance to start the second half. ELC didn't help itself by making poor choices that led to steals and layups for the visitors as they opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run.
Justin Heinrichs finally hit a shot to end the run and Newell-Fonda promptly hit a 3-pointer for the biggest lead of the night, 48-33.
But then ELC began its comeback coming up with a 10-2 run started by two baskets from David Hughes followed by a 3-pointer from Kyle DeVary. After another basket by Heinrichs and a free throw by Carsten Bosch as ELC cut the lead back to the halftime deficit at seven, 50-43.
But the Midgets weren't done yet. Two 3-pointers by Justin Heinrichs in the final 30 seconds of the third quarter cut the deficit to two, 55-53.
Rodrick Fuller scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to tie the game and Hughes scored to give ELC its first lead, 57-55, since the first quarter.
Over the next few minutes, ELC had chances to take the lead, but twice missed layups as well as two misses on the front end of a one-and-one at the free throw line.
ELC trailed 65-61 when Clay Tredway attracted a crowd in the lane and kicked the ball out to Joe Heinrichs in the right corner for a 3-pointer to cut the deficit back to one, at 65-64.
But the visitors answered and ELC missed another opportunity. Two free throws by the Mustangs' Dillon Anderson made the score 69-64 with 36.8 seconds left in the contest. Bosch was followed with 16.5 seconds left and converted the free throws. Missed free throws by the Mustangs kept the door open for ELC, Justin Heinrichs had little time when he launched his potential game-tying shot from the right wing.
Justin Heinrichs finished with 22 points while Joe Heinrichs had 14. Hughes had nine points while Bosch and Tredway each had seven, Fuller had four and DeVary had three.
In the first half, ELC matched Newell-Fonda basket-for-basket to start the first quarter. After a steal and layup by Joe Heinrichs gave ELC a 16-15 lead, Newell-Fonda upped the pressure and went on a 6-0 run to take a 20-15 lead.
ELC's depth was hurt early in the second quarter when Bosch picked up his third foul at the 6:31 mark.
The Midgets trailed 22-18 at that point. The visitors led by as much as nine, 27-18, when Tredway scored and Justin Heinrichs hit a 3-pointer to keep the deficit at six, 29-23.
ELC battled back within two after another 3-pointer by Justin Heinrichs at 3-31. But the Mustang's Connor Wolterman answered with a trey of his own and then a steal and layup by the visitors gave them their 38-31 lead at the break.