Midgets show fight in loss to Storm Lake
Estherville Lincoln Central had its chances to take the lead from Storm Lake in the fourth quarter, the Midgets could never quite get over the hump.
After a 3-pointer by Jayson Moeller cut the deficit to two, 54-52, with 1:10 left in the game, the Tornadoes Parker Lange made four free throws in the final 15 seconds to preserve a 58-52 victory for the visitors.
ELC coach Don Martindale couldn’t find fault with his team’s efforts, but was disappointed in the end game.
“We had four possessions where we were down four and threw the ball away three times,” he said. “The teams is maturing, but we can’t afford those kind of mistakes. I can’t be more proud of the effort though.”
ELC’s bench also was tested against Storm Lake. With starter Trey Jacobson out on concussion protocol, sophomore Bennett Loock got the start in his place. Meanwhile starters Jacob Heinrichs and Trevor Friesner both picked up two fouls in the first quarter and sat the rest of the half.
Despite those challenges, ELC led 11-10 after one quarter and trailed just 29-24 at halftime. Alec Heifner, Noah Heifner and Moeller received significantly more playing time with Lucas Gardner also called upon late in the first half.
In the first quarter, both teams battled to get their first basket with Friesner finally breaking the ice. A basket and free throws by Moeller gave ELC leads of 7-6 and then 9-8 with ELC taking an 11-10 lead on Brian Egeland’s first basket.
ELC kept fighting in the second quarter and the teams were tied 20-20 with 4 minutes remaining. But Storm Lake went on a 9-2 run with two free throw by Alec Heifner right before half keeping the deficit to just five.
ELC went to work on a comeback in the third quarter, cutting the lead several times to four points. A 3-pointer by Loock cut the deficit to 40-36 with 1:40 left in the period. Moeller then hit his first trey as ELC trailed 42-39 to start the final period.
Friesner scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to one, 42-41, but Storm Lake’s Josh Werge, who scored a game-high 29 points, answered with a 3-pointer. Loock then hit a long two-point field goal on a pass from Friesner, who then picked up his fifth foul at the other end of the court.
Egeland, who finished with 13 points on the night, had ELC trailing by just one, 50-49 with 2:25 left in the game and ELC was unable to capitalize on taking the lead.
Moeller finished with 14 points to lead ELC on 5-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the free throw line.
“Jayson’s starting to step up and I thought he played strong,” said Martindale.
Egeland and Jacob Bosch each had six rebounds.
“Brian has a unique ability to his hip and seal the defender,” said Martindale.
Loock finished with seven points while Bosch had six and Alec Heifner, Heinrichs and Friesner each had four.
ELC shot well from the field at 57 percent (20-of-35), but unofficially had 19 turnovers compared to just 10 for Storm Lake.
“We disappointed not to get the win, but it was a good learning tool,” said Martindale.
ELC (2-2 overall, 0-1 in the Lakes Conference) hosts North Union tonight and goes on the road against Cherokee on Friday.
The ELC Junior Varsity lost to Storm Lake 59-38 on Tuesday.