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A miraculous finish

By Staff | Feb 14, 2008

Estherville Lincoln Central’s Taylor Larson falls to the floor and the Midgette fans rise to their feet after the junior guard made the game-winning layup against Forest City on Wednesday. EDN photo by David Swartz

What do you say?

The Estherville Lincoln Central girls basketball team pulled out miraculous victory over Forest City to start its 2008 playoff run.

While the Midgettes led nearly the entire game, they could never quite put the Indians away.

When Forest City took a one-point lead, 57-56, on a free throw with six second remaining, ELC’s spectacular season appeared on the brink of ending.

After an ELC timeout, Taylor Larson got the ball on the Forest City end of the court. and went coast to coast with her left-hand layup dropping through the net as the buzzer sounded for the 58-57 victory.

“We knew we had to get the ball in quick and I was to look for Christa (Clayton). I saw a wide open lane and decided to take it,” said Larson.

ELC, rated No. 12, advances to play No. 10 Algona at Algona on Saturday. The Bulldogs opened their playoff run with a 71-48 winner over Humboldt.

Whatever fans expected from Forest City, the Indians matched the Midgettes blow for blow.

“We knew they were athletic and that gave us some trouble,” said ELC coach Brad Leonard. “We knew they’d play hard.”

Point guard Taylar Jacobson fired the opening salvo, hitting a 3-pointer on the Midgettes’ first possession, but Forest City came back with two baskets to take the lead.

Larson then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give ELC a 9-6 lead. Again the Indians rallied and got the lead within one at 11-190.

Baskets by Melanie Bandow and Larson pushed the lead to five, 15-10, but the Indians hit a basket at the buzzer to cut it to three.

ELC started well in the second quarter with a 7-2 run with two free throws and a three-point play by Clayton and a basket by Jensen for a 22-14 lead.

ELC led by nine when larson drove in from the left side and was fouled. She also converted a three-point play for a 27-18 ELC lead.

Forest City came roaring back with eight straight points to cut the lead two one again.

However, Jacobson hit a a tough baseline jumper with 12 seconds remaining that put ELC on top 29-26 at halftime.

ELC could never get away from the Indians in the third quarter. Forest City tied the game at 31 and 33.

The Midgettes stretched their lead to five when jensen rebounded her own miss and passed underneath the basket to a wide-open Alex Olesen to make it 41-36.

Again the Indians City came back with six straight points to take only their second lead of the night, 42-41.

With 1 second on the clock, ELC ran an inbounds play under the basket. Using Clayton as a decoy, Larson got a one-on-one match as she cut to the basket from the right side and hit a layup at the buzzer as ELC led 43-42.

ELC took a five-point lead with 2:37 remaining on a layup by Lapka, but the Indians got a basket and a steal and tied the game at 50.

The two teams traded baskets two more times with Lapka scoring both for the Midgettes as ELC led 54-42, but Forest city hit a 3-pointer to take a 55-54 lead.

The Midgettes lost the ball and were forced to foul, but Forest City made just one free throw to lead 56-54 with 40 seconds remaining.

Clayton got the ball and drove inside for a layup. Fouled on the play, the 90-percent free throw shooter had a rare miss.

With the score tied at 56, Jensen fouled Forest City and the Indians made one free throw to set up the final scenario.

ELC was led by Clayton with 16 points. Larson ended with 15 while Lapka had 10 points and six rebounds.

The Indians were led by Jenna Friedrich with 18 points and Sara Kingland with 17 points.

ELC’s road doesn’t get any easier as Algona boasts a 20-1 record.

No. 12 ELC 58, Forest City 57

Estherville Lincoln Central (58) – Landra Lapka 5 0-0 10; Melanie Bandow 1 0-0 2; Taylar Jacobson 2 0-0 5; Emily Jensen 2 0-0 4; Alex Olesen 3 0-0 6; Kelsie McCauley 0 0-0 0; Taylor Larson 6 1-1 15; Christa Clayton 6 4-6 16.

Halftime score — ELC 29, Forest City 26. 3-pointers – 3 (Larson 2, Jacobson). Rebounds – 19 (Lapka 6). Assists – 11 (Larson 4). Steals – 3. Blocked Shots – 0. Turnovers – 21. Total Fouls – 13. Fouled Out – none. Technical Fouls – none.