The Estherville Lincoln Central boys were looking for their first winning regular season since 1997. Emmetsburg was just looking to scratch out one more win.
The E'Hawks made enough plays in the fourth quarter to pull out a 59-57 victory.
The loss puts the Midgets at 10-11, an under .500 record for the first time this season.
"We weren't aggressive at all in the first half," said ELC coach Corey Christopher.
After the Midgets jumped out to a 9-0 lead, the E'Hawks outscored ELC 29-12 the remainder of the half.
"We stood around and turned the ball over and they (Emmetsburg) gained momentum," said Christopher. "They shot the ball well and moved it around well. They issued a challenge. Normally this season, we've answered the challenge."
ELC looked efficient on offense the first few possessions with Joe Heinrichs scoring a couple baskets, Clay Tredway scoring three points and Carsten Bosch making a layup. But Emmetsburg battled back and had the deficit cut to 13-9 by the end of the opening frame. A three-point play by Eric Drost to start the second quarter cut the deficit to one and ELC was in a battle. ELC's last lead was at 19-18 on a basket by Bosch with Emmetsburg wrapping up the first half with an 11-2 run.
ELC didn't fold up yet. The Midgets went to work in the third quarter with a basket by Joe Heinrichs cutting the deficit to two, 33-31 at the 3:50 mark. A basket by Justin Heinrichs followed by two three from the junior tied the game at 39-39 with 1:53 in the period. The two teams were again tied at 42-42 when Justin Heinrichs hit his third trey as the Midgets led 45-42. ELC led 45-43 to start the final frame.
But after outscoring the visitors 24-14 in the third quarter, ELC couldn't keep up the pace in the fourth. ELC led by as many as five after Clay Tredway rebounded a missed free throw by Hughes. Hughes got the ball back and scored the basket to put ELC up 48-43. But Emmetsburg scored the next two baskets with a 3-pointer by Max Dunlap tying the game at 48-48.
The teams traded baskets for with ELC leading 55052 after Joe Heinrichs rebounded a missed free throw by Noah Diekmann and put the ball back to give ELC a 55-52 lead. But Emmetsburg scored the next two baskets.
Emmetsburg ran some clock, but ELC still trailed by one with about 30 seconds remaining. A turnover didn't give the Midgets a chance to retake the lead. Two free throws by Emmetsburg's Mike Meyers put his team up 58-55 with 23 seconds remaining. ELC again didn't score, but Austin Krause missed the front end of a one-and-one. Bosch drove the length of the floor to toss up a 3-pointer from the left wing that clanged off the back of the rim.
Joe Heinrichs led ELC with 15 points and four assists while Justin Heinrichs had 13 rebounds and three assists. Hughes had 11 points and eight rebounds while Bosch had eight points, Tredway had five, Diekmann had three and Rod Fuller had two.
The Midgets open tournament play at home Monday against Sibley-Ocheyedan.