SHELDON — With Andy Pringnitz fouled out of the game, Spirit Lake needed to find another hero to step up against Spencer.
The Indians found that person in junior Joel Hegeman. Hegeman hit two key 3-pointers in the second half and then hit two free throws with 15 seconds left that put his team ahead 48-47.
After Hegeman’s free throws, the Tigers had a couple looks at the basket, but Spirit Lake tied up the ball with two-tenths of a second remaining. With the possession arrow in the Indians favor, they in-bounded the ball to secure the win.
The victory sends Spirit Lake to the Class 3A Substate 1 game at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City against Bishop Heelan. The Crusaders won 48-25 over LeMars on Thursday.
“How about Hegeman! Did he step up and have a game or what!” said Spirit Lake coach John Walz.
Pringnitz, one of the senior team leaders, scored the go-ahead basket in Spirit Lake’s first-round 44-43 victory over MOC-Floyd Valley.
He fouled out with 1:43 left in the game.
“This year we sort of went the way Andy’s went,” said Walz. “We were running out of time and had to make plays right now and we did.”
After Spencer’s Nolan Goeken made two free throws, the Tigers led 45-44. Spirit Lake’s Scott Maudlin was fouled and answered with two free throws to put the Indians back on top.
Spencer took its final lead when Goeken was fouled again with 1:12 remaining. He hit both free throws for a 47-46 lead setting up the final scenario for Spirit Lake.
For the Indians, it was their first win over the Tigers this year. Spencer won by double digits both times, 73-61on Dec. 11, 2007 and 57-43 on Jan. 22.
In the Jan. 22 game, Spencer’s Kyle Fitch and Dan Johnson combined for 34 points. While Nolan Goeken ended with 18 points, Fitch was held to seven points and Johnson, in foul trouble most of the night, had just four points.
“This was just a total team effort,” said Walz. “Scotty (Maudlin) was Mr. Consistent and never turns the ball over. Tyler (Solsma) did an excellent job (guarding) on Fitch.”
The one negative Walz pointed to was rebounding, but he observed the Indians haven’t rebounded well against Spencer in the past.
Neither team started quickly as the score was 2-2 four minutes into the game.
A Solsma 3-pointer gave Spirit Lake a brief lead at 8-6, but it was immediately answered by Spencer’s Chris Lensing. Hegeman’s first basket of the night gave the Indians a 10-9 lead, but Fitch banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Spencer a 12-10 lead after one quarter.
Maudlin opened the second half with a 3-pointer and then Pringnitz scored the next eight points for the Indians as part of a 13-6 run.
A basket by Mason Bergquist gave Spirit Lake its biggest lead at 25-18, but the Tigers closed out with a 5-1 run to cut the deficit to 26-23.
Hegeman hit his first 3-pointer to start the second half, but that was followed by a 9-2 Tiger run as they led 32-31 with 4:08 remaining.
The seesaw battle continued until the end of the quarter when a basket by Fitch gave the Tigers a 36-34 lead.
Pringnitz went to the bench early in the fourth quarter with four fouls, but two baskets by Bergquist helped the Indians tie the game at 38-38.
Spencer scored the next five points when Hegeman hit his second 3-pointer with 3:40 remaining. On the next Indian possession, he was put back an offensive rebound to tie the game at 43-43.
A Bergquist free throw with 2:01 remaining gave the Indians a 44-43 lead before Pringnitz fouled out.
Pringnitz ended the night with 14 points, 11 coming in the first half.
Hegeman had 12 points while Solsma had eight and Maudlin and Bergquist each had five. Boomer Dreeszen chipped in four points.
The Indians were 14-of-21 from the free throw line while the Tigers were 13-of-16 with Goeken making 10-of-11.