Since beating Estherville Lincoln Central in last year's Class 2A first-round game, Western Christian has just gotten better and better.
The Midgets, ranked third in Class 3A this year, couldn't come up with the shots they needed against the top-ranked team in Class 2A on Tuesday.
The Wolfpack swept the season series with a 59-46 victory.
ELC’s Maggie McCauley (4) challenges Western Christian’s Brooke Wolterstorff (25) on this play Tuesday.
EDN photo by David Swartz
"We shot just 26 percent from the field and had some good looks," said ELC coach Tony Klein. "A couple of those go down and may be we have a chance."
Two of ELC's three losses are to Western Christian. Fortunately the Midgets won't have to see them in the playoffs.
The Midgets struggled a bit in the first quarter as Western Christian scored the first four points.
But Allie Sievert finally hit a couple jumpers to put ELC on the board. Three points by Emily Kirchner tied the game at 7-7. After the Wolfpack retook the lead, Sara Heywood hit a 3-pointer to give ELC its only lead of the night at 10-9 After Western Christian scored the next four points, Caitlyn Clayton hit an inside shot at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 13-12.
Kirchner's free throws early in the second quarter kept the game a one-point contest at 15-14.
But then the Midgets went cold while the visitors went on a 10-0 run.
ELC missed some layups and shots it usually makes while everything the visitors seemed to throw up went in the basket as they built a 35-20 lead.
ELC continued to battle in the third quarter, but only got as close at 12, 41-29, with 3:52 remaining.
ELC trailed 47-31 to start the final frame.
ELC finally put a little run together in the fourth period with Heywood hitting another 3-pointer and Allie Sievert converted a three-point play. Casey Sievert's two free throws with about 3:15 remaining cut the deficit to 10.
While The Wolfpack then began a stall game, ELC got some turnovers and had opportunities to cut the deficit further.
Allie Sievert led ELC with 14 points, Kirchner had 13, Heywood had 10, Clayton had four, Casey Sievert had three and Macy Dahl had two. ELC was 18-of-21 from the free-throw line.
Kim Kroeze led Western Christian with 14 points while Alissa Pollema and Jamie Gesink each had 13.
Senior night may not have ended the way ELC's six seniors wanted, but the Midgets will have one more game at home as they host Algona in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs on Saturday.
"It's always good to play a team of this caliber because of their sped and size as the next team will play will seem slower," said Klein.
ELC finishes the regular season at 18-3 overall and 12-2 in the Lakes Conference.
"A lot of people have enjoyed seeing these girls play over the years and the girls get to play one more game in our gym," said Klein.