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ELC defense shines in opener

Midgets force 33 turnovers in win over Cougars

By David Swartz - Managing Editor | Nov 25, 2020

ELC’s Jaydan Nitchals races ahead of the defense on this fast-break opportunity against Manson-Northwest Webster in Tuesday’s season opener. Teammates Jordyn Stokes (14) and Amara Heinrichs (20) trail the play. Photo by David Swartz

With four returning starters in the lineup, Estherville Lincoln Central made short work of Manson-Northwest Webster in Tuesday’s season opener with a 63-31 victory.

Senior Amara Heinrichs, juniors Kaitlyn Tendal and Jaydan Nitchals and sophomore Jordyn Stokes were joined by freshman Jasey Anderson in the starting lineup as the 2020-21 season tipped off against the Cougars. Defense was key in the contest, as ELC used full-court pressure through three quarters, causing 33 turnovers.

Tendal hit the opening 3-pointer and Anderson’s first make as a varsity player was from long range, as ELC took a 6-2 lead. Manson-Northwest Webster came back to tie the game at 8-8.

However, Nitchals started an 11-0 run with a layup and 3-pointer. Tendal came up with a steal on the defensive end and went coast-to coast for a layup. Baskets by Stokes and Anderson completed the run, as ELC led 19-8. However the Cougars ended the first period with a 3-point play to cut the deficit to 19-11.

ELC showed its accuracy from long range, as Nitchals, Abby Sander, and Stokes all hit 3-pointers in the second quarter while pushing the Midgets’ half-time lead to 38-21.

The third quarter was all about ELC’s defense, which limited the Cougars to just two points. However with a 49-21 lead, Nitchals went down after receiving the ball at the free throw line. After getting back to the bench, her left ankle was iced for the remainder of the contest.

ELC led 53-23 to start the finale period. Five quick points by Tendal gave ELC its’ biggest lead at 58-23. The ELC bench completed the game.

Six different ELC players made 3-pointers. Nitchals hit three from long range on the way to a 17-point night to lead all scorers. Tendal and Anderson each had 11 points with Anderson going 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Stokes had nine points, Heinrichs had six, and Sander, Gabrielle Paul, and Brei Christoffer each had three points.

Chloe Peterson led the Cougars with nine points and six rebounds.

ELC (1-0) travels to Algona on Monday to take on the Bulldogs. While ELC has won two of the last three games against Algona, the Bulldogs knocked ELC out of the tournament last season. Algona lost 52-23 in its season opener to Forest City on Tuesday.

ELC then hosts Sioux Central on Tuesday. The Rebels already have two wins on the season, defeating Spirit Lake 62-45, and Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn 65-41. Sioux Central defeated ELC last season 52-44.