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Area teams ready for postseason success

ELC hosts first game

February 14, 2014
By David Swartz - Managing Editor , Estherville News

Some might look at Estherville Lincoln Central's 10-11 record and think it wasn't a good season.

For Midgets fans though, it's the best record since 1996-97 when ELC had its last winning record at 13-7. Since that season, ELC has three eight-win seasons-1997-98 (8-13), 2008-09 (8-14) and 2011-12 (8-16).

Looking at the schedule from the 2013-14 season, the Midgets had their share of close losses as well as some last-second victories-most notably the two wins over Spirit Lake.

This year's ELC squad still has a chance of a .500 record as the Midgets enter the postseason.

ELC hosts a playoff game against a Sibley-Ocheyedan team that is just 3-18. That game is at 7 p.m. this Monday.

However, all three of the Generals' wins have come in February while ELC has lost its last four games against quality competition. The first win for S-O was a 70-69 victory over Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn on Feb. 1. The Hawks (12-9 overall) have a first-round bye and will play the winner of ELC/S-O at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20 in Hull.

A quick look at ELC's first matchup, the Generals have three players averaging double digits in scoring Grant Juber (15.6 PPG), Ty Hanna (11.5 PPG) and Devin Vander Veen (10.3 PPG). Also Carson Marco averages 9.0 points per game.

ELC has four players averaging double digits with David Hughes (14.3), Justin Heinrichs (13.4), Joe Heinrichs (11.4) and Carsten Bosch (11.2).

ELC is averaging 63.8 points per game compared to Sibley-Ocheyedan with a 49.4 average.

Common opponents are Spirit Lake and Harris-Lake Park. Both ELC and S-O defeated Harris-Lake Park. The Midgets won 74-61 in the season opener. The Generals won 57-43 on Feb. 6.

On the other side of the 2A District 2 bracket, Emmetsburg and Okoboji play the 6:30 game at ELC for the right to face top-ranked Western Christian on Thursday in a district semifinal. The district final is 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25 in Spencer.

Class 1A

The Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire boys team put together a stellar season with a 16-3 record entering the Friday's regular season finale against Class 1A No. 2 Newell-Fonda. However two of those losses have come in the last week.

Andy Geelan and Connor Sturgill lead the Titans this season with 15.5 and 15.6 points per game, respectively, this year. Noah Stukey is close behind at 10.8 PPG with Taylor Enderson at 7 PPG, Mason McGrauth at 6.7 PPG and Lane Reiman at 66 PPG. GT/RA is averaging nearly 69 points per game.

The Titans' postseason begins at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20 at Boyden-Hull High School where they will face the winner of Monday's game between George-Little Rock (8-13) and Akron-Westfield (4-16). Should GT/RA advance, the Titans will play the Boyden-Hull (10-10)/Harris-Lake Park (11-9) winner in Sheldon on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Meanwhile North Union (4-18) will take on Corwith-Wesley-Luverne (5-14). The Warriors have defeated the Panthers twice this season, mostly recently a 65-40 win on Feb. 4. The two teams meet up in Buffalo Center at 6:30 p.m. this Monday, Feb. 17. The winner will take on Belmond-Klemme (17-3) at Bishop Garrigan at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20.

Senior Aric Runge leads the Warriors this season, averaging 14.2 points per game. Jacob Braddock averages 9.3 PPG while Colin Runksmeier is at 6.4 PPG and Alex Krantz is at 6.1 PPG.

Class 3A

The Class 3A Tournament doesn't start until Monday, Feb. 24 as Spirit Lake has two more regular season games to play. The Indians were 13-6 overall entering the final week of play.

Spirit Lake will take on Algona (12-7) in the opening round at 6:30 p.m. in Spencer. On the other side of the bracket, Spencer (11-8) takes on MOC-Floyd Valley (15-5). The winners of the two games will play at Sheldon on Thursday, Feb. 27.

Alec Henrickson leads Spirit Lake this season, averaging nearly 24 points per game. Trevor Smith (12.3 PPG) and Billy Brown (11.7 PPG) give solid support for a team averaging 63.4 points per contest.



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