Braves hang on against Midgets – Stangl leads ELC with 13
The Estherville Lincoln Central boys basketball team put up a solid first half against Cherokee, but the Braves made a run in the second half that put them ahead for good.
While the Midgets had chances to cut the lead down the stretch, Cherokee held on for a 58-54 win.
“It seems like the other team always comes up with the guy who’s comfortable taking those shots at the end of the game,” said ELC coach Joey Grau.
The Braves have two wins this season, both against the Midgets.
“Our young men competed hard, we just didn’t shoot the ball well,” said Grau.
Both teams looked good shooting the ball in the first half.
ELC jumped out to a 4-2 lead on two baskets by Marcus Stangl, but Cherokee scored the next four points.
Tied at 8-8, ELC scored six straight points with two free throws by Caleb Caboth and baskets by Kyle Gems and Matt Gruhlke to push the lead to 14-8.
The Braves cut the lead two points before another Stangl scored again. Then the visitors scored the final five points of the quarter including a 3-pointer by Cody Ege at the buzzer as Cherokee led 17-16.
ELC opened the second quarter with a basket by Dylan Sievert and consecutive 3-pointers by Gruhlke and Aaron Andrews to retake the lead at 24-22.
The Midgets held the lead until a 3-pointer by Tyler Jones gave the Braves a 31-29 lead. A basket by Caboth tied the game at 31-31.
Cherokee played for the final shot of the half, but Sievert rebounded a miss and threw downcourt to a streaking Collin Klingbeil for a layup and a 33-31 ELC lead at the break.
ELC went on a 6-2 run to start the third quarter with baskets by Grems, Stangl and Klingbeil to lead 39-33, but Stangl left the game with his fourth foul and the Braves went on a 7-0 run.
Two free throws by Grems gave ELC a 41-40 lead, but it was their last of the night.
The Braves ended the quarter with an 8-2 run for a 48-43 edge.
Cherokee pushed its lead to nine in the fourth quarter before a 3-point play by Caboth cut the deficit back to six at 54-48.
With the lead, Cherokee tried to stall the final few minutes and although the Braves had a couple turnovers and missed shots, ELC was unable to take advantage.
Stangl led ELC with 13 points and seven rebounds. Grems had 12 points while Caboth tossed in 11 and Gruhlke had seven. Also Sievert and Klingbeil both had four points and Andrews had three.
ELC (2-13, 0-11) travels to Jackson, Minn. to play Jackson County Central today. Junior varsity game starts at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity around 6:30 p.m.