OH MY! – No. 15 ELC upsets No. 4 Spencer
ESTHERVILLE — Although trailing for most of three quarters, Class 3A No. 15 Estherville Lincoln Central never stopped attacking No. 4 Spencer.
The Midgettes’ aggressiveness finally paid off as they took the lead at the end of the third quarter and outscored the visitors 17-8 in the fourth period for a 53-43 upset win over the Tigers.
The victory is ELC’s second over a top 10 team in Class 3A with the first coming against Spirit Lake.
“This was one of those games that proves that you don’t need a bunch of all-conference players to win every night,” said ELC coach Brad Leonard. “You just need to believe in each other and work hard.”
In the first quarter, Spencer struck first and jumped out to a 13-6 lead. A free throw by Taylor Larson followed by a basket by Emily Jensen at the buzzer cut the deficit to 13-9.
Spencer’s Brittany Peterson knocked down a 3-pointer and the Tigers hit two free throws to start the second quarter. Another basket gave the visitors their biggest lead at 20-9 before Larson ended the drought for the Midgettes.
Four straight free throws by Christa Clayton pulled ELC within seven at 22-15.
ELC still trailed by six, 26-20, with less than a minute in the half when Clayton had an offensive rebound to pull within four at 26-22. After Spencer scored, Larson knocked down two free throws to keep the deficit at four, 28-24, at halftime.
Two of Spencer’s players had three fouls at the break–leading scorer Marni Jacobson and 6-2 post player Kristi DeGeest.
ELC’s Emily Jensen hit the first shot to open the second half and cut the deficit to two.
Spencer managed to stay out front, but Clayton scored a basket over DeGeest to give ELC its first lead, 34-33, with 2:39 left in the third quarter.
After Spencer’s Beth Druvenga made a layup, Clayton again came up with a basket at the buzzer to give ELC a 36-35 lead.
Clayton scored the first basket of the final quarter, but DeGeest answered with a basket inside. ELC’s Alex Olesen then came down and knocked in a a 14-foot jumper, but the big shot came from Melanie Bandow.
Bandow knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give ELC a 43-37 lead with 4:50 remaining.
Less than a minute later, Olesen grabbed an offensive rebound and drew the fifth foul on DeGeest. Olsen knocked down the free throws as ELC led 45-37.
ELC went into slow mode as they patiently worked the ball at half court. Bandow surprised the defense by suddenly driving to the basket for a layup to give ELC a 47-38 lead.
After Clayton hit two free throws to push the lead to 11, Jacobsen knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:38 remaining to cut the lead to eight, 49-41.
However, the Tigers ran out of time and only hit one more field goal while the Midgettes made enough free throws to seal the win.
“We just wanted to hang around and keep it a close game,” said Leonard. “It’s something they haven’t seen much whereas we have.”
ELC wasn’t as proficient from the free throw line as usual, but ended the night 18-of-29 from the charity stripe.
Clayton led all scorers with 21 points while Larson had nine and Landra Lapka had seven.
Bandow attacked the boards on both ends of the court and had a team-high 12 rebounds.
ELC (14-1, 10-1) will host Emmetsburg on Friday.
No. 15 ELC 53, No. 4 Spencer 43
Estherville Lincoln Central (43) – Landra Lapka 2 3-4 7; Melanie Bandow 2 0-0 5; Taylar Jacobson 0 0-0 0; Emily Jensen 3 0-2 6; Alex Olesen 1 2-2 4; Kelsie McCauley 0 1-4 1; Taylor Larson 2 5-9 9; Christa Clayton 7 7-8 21.
Halftime score — Spencer 28, ELC 24. 3-pointers – 1 (Bandow). Rebounds – 32 (Bandow 12). Assists – 10 (Lapka 2, Bandow 2, Clayton 2). Steals – 3. Blocked Shots – 1 (McCauley). Turnovers – 11. Total Fouls – 17. Fouled Out – none. Technical Fouls – none.