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Bouncing back

ELC defense stifles Spirit Lake, 48-21

By David Swartz - | Dec 20, 2020

ELC’s Kaitlyn Tendal drives baseline during the Midgets’ win over Spirit Lake on Friday. Photo by David Swartz

SPIRIT LAKE — Sometimes it takes a loss to refocus your team. That was apparently the case for the Estherville Lincoln Central girls, who bounced back from Tuesday’s loss to No. 3 Cherokee to dominate a struggling Spirit Lake team on Friday. The Midgets held the struggling Indians to just 20.7 percent shooting from the field on the way to a 48-21 victory.

“This win took place our last two practices and what we learned against Cherokee,” said ELC coach Don Martindale. “We were going to play a lot tougher. Offensively and defensively, we were going to be much tougher with the ball. We really worked on our rebounding the last few days, which is an area we haven’t been doing a good job of. It was an area we were better at against a much taller team. I thought our defensive pressure was outstanding.”

That pressure held Spirit Lake to seven points or less each quarter.

ELC took a 12-5 lead in the first quarter, helped by 3-pointers from Kaitlyn Tendal and Jordyn Stokes. The Midgets led 21-12 at a point when Tendal and Jaydan Nitchals both went to the bench with two fouls. However, Amara Heinrichs scored the last seven points of the half, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer, as ELC pushed its lead to 28-12.

A low scoring third quarter saw both Nitchals and Gabby Paul both hit treys to push ELC’s lead to 38-17 entering the final period. ELC scored the first 10 points of the final frame with the bench getting to play the final few minutes.

Stokes led ELC with 14 points, six assists and five steals while Nitchals had 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists. Heinrichs finished with 11 points while Tendal had eight and Paul had three.

ELC was perfect from the free throw line, going 8-of-8. The Indians forced more fouls, but only made 9-of-19 free throws.

ELC (6-1 overall, 2-1 in the Lakes Conference) wraps up the 2020 portion of the season with a home game against Emmetsburg on Tuesday.