Bulldogs bite back – LeMars rallies with 21-6 fourth quarter
ESTHERVILLE — The Estherville Lincoln Central boys basketball team has one of its best starts against a Lakes Conference opponent in many a season, taking a 18-4 lead against LeMars on Tuesday.
While the Midgets still led by 10 at halftime and to start the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs rallied with a 21-6 run to pull out a 44-39 victory.
“The kids played hard for three quarters and the whole game. At halftime we talked about how important the third quarter is and basically played even,” said ELC assistant coach Brian DeJong.
LeMars senior Tyler Westphal led the comeback scoring nearly a dozen points in the final frame.
“We knew the Westphal kid would get his points,” said DeJong. “Hopefully we can learn from this and move on from there.”
While the Bulldogs scored the first basket of the game, ELC scored the next seven points with a pair of free throws, a 3-pointer from Collin Klingbeil and a jumper from Matt Gruhlke.
ELC led 9-4 when Klingbeil passed to a wide open Kyle Grems under the basket and led 12-4 after one quarter when Gruhlke hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Grems hit two free throws and Marcus Stangl hit one and then Klingbeil knocked down a second 3-pointer as ELC led 18-4 with 6:30 left in the first half.
ELC still led 21-8 with 2:50 remaining after a layup by Stangl, but the Bulldogs' Marc Kommes hit a couple baskets to pull within eight at 21-13.
Gems and Gruhlke scored the next four points, but LeMars hit a shot at the buzzer as ELC led 25-15 at the break.
Caleb Caboth, who sat nearly the who first half after picking up three fouls in the first two minutes, scored the first basket of the second half. Fandel and Stangl both scored to push the lead to 16 at 31-15.
Westphal scored the next five points and Sam Van Wettering knocked down a trey to cut the deficit to eight at 31-23, but Gruhlke again had the last shot to push the lead back to 10.
ELC’s only points in the final frame were four free throws by Fandel early in the quarter and ELC led 37-29.
However, the Midgets didn’t score again until trailing 42-37 when Gruhlke hit a layup with two seconds remaining.
Gruhlke led ELC with 11 points while Fandel had eight and Klingbeil, Grems and Stangl each had six points.
ELC (1-2, 0-2) is on the road at Forest City on Saturday.
The ELC junior varsity lost 57-31. The JV was led by Alex Arends and Joel Kazmerzak with six points each.