Western Christian 53, No. 12 ELC 46, OT – Wolfpack nips ELC
HULL — Class 3A No. 12 Estherville Lincoln Central had less than 24 hours to celebrate its overtime victory over Spirit Lake when the team had to refocus against a tough Western Christian squad.
The Midgettes beat the Wolfpack 42-39 on Jan. 4 in Estherville.
This time, ELC never quite got on track as Western Christian won in overtime, 53-46, on Tuesday.
“Western Christians was the better team tonight,” said ELC coach Brad Leonard. “They executed and we just weren’t ready. We’re an excellent team when we play hard. We just went through the motions tonight.”
ELC was trying to seal up the sole spot at the top of the Lakes Conference, but end in a tie with Spirit Lake with a 14-2 record, even though the Midgettes swept the season series with the Indians.
The Wolfpack snapped ELC’s 14-game winning streak which began after a loss to Spencer on Dec. 4.
Against Western Christian, the Midgettes didn’t score for the first three minutes until Melanie Bandow knocked down a 3-pointer.
Western Christians’ Brandi Scott answered with a 3-pointer of her own to push the lead to 7-3.
ELC cut the lead to one point twice before the end of the first quarter, the last on a layup by Taylor Larson at 11-10.
However, the Wolfpack’s Jessica Destigter made a half-court short at the buzzer to give her team a 14-10 lead after one quarter.
Although Christa Clayton scored the first basket of the second quarter, the Wolfpack went on a 7-0 run to push the lead to nine points, 21-12, before ELC responded.
Taylar Jacobson scored the next five points to start a 9-2 run to end the half as ELC trailed 23-21.
Clayton scored the first points of the second half to tie the game at 23-23, but ELC didn’t take its first lead until Clayton scored with 3:30 in remaining in the third quarter. A basket by Larson gave ELC its biggest lead at 29-25, but two free throws by Scott made the third quarter score 29-27 ELC.
The lead seesawed in the fourth quarter and ELC took a 38-36 lead with about two minutes remaining.
The Midgettes tried to stall, but a turnover led to two free throws by Destigter that tied the game at 38-38.
Nicole Buyert hit a basket to put the Wolfpack up by two and Western Christian still led 41-39 when Clayton drove to the basket and was fouled.
She knocked down both free throws to tie the game at 41.
Western Christian’s final shot for the win rolled out of the basket.
The overtime period was all the Wolfpack as they scored the first seven points and pulled out the victory.
“We shot poorly. There wasn’t any one person or any one thing that was bad tonight, we just weren’t ready,” said Leonard. “The key for us is to walk out of the gym and forget about this one.”
Clayton led ELC with 16 points while Larson had 10 and Jacobson had nine points. Landra Lapka had five points, Bandow had three, Emily Jensen had two and Kelsie McCauley had one.
The Midgettes end a very good season with an 18-3 record overall and 14-2 in the conference.
“It’s been someone different every night who has stepped up and that’s what has made this team,” said Leonard. “When you play hard and with energy, you make your own luck.”
The Midgettes start postseason play next Wednesday at home against Forest City. Game time is 7 p.m.
The winner plays the Humboldt/Algona winner on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Algona.
The ELC junior varsity girls team lost 35-30 to Western Christian.