SPENCER - Estherville Lincoln Central came ready to challenge Class 2A top-ranked Western Christian in Tuesday's district final.
But the shots didn't fall in the first quarter despite the Midgets getting open looks. Meanwhile Western Christian raced out to a 10-0 lead. ELC trailed just 13-5 when Justin Heinrichs hit a 3-pointer and then 18-7 after two free throws by Heinrichs. But Western Christian ended the period on a 13-0 run and was never threatened on the way to an 83-46 victory.
"I can't take anything from Western Christian, but we just couldn't get a shot to fall in that first quarter," said ELC coach Corey Christopher. "I thought we got a lot of good looks."
ELC coach Corey Christopher greets David Hughes as the senior concludes his basketball career as the MIdgets fell to top-ranked Western Christian 83-46 on Tuesday. See more photos at cu.esthervillenews.net.
Photo by David Swartz
Christopher said it's difficult for many teams to matchup with the Wolfpack's size with a 6-6 and a 6-7 starter. Throughout the night, 6-7 senior Taylor Feenstra and 6-6 sophomore Josh VanLingen pounded the offensive glass with each getting five offensive rebounds. Defensively, Feenstra had 15 defensive rebounds and VanLingen had nine as the duo limited ELC's second chances.
"We just don't have a way to displace those guys out of the prime rebounding area," said Christopher. "It wasn't for a lack of effort on our part and it's that that we don't know what they'll do."
ELC's highlight of the night was the second quarter. Western Christian suddenly went cold, scoring just two points in 4 minutes of play in the period. ELC only cut the deficit to 19, 33-14. David Hughes had seven points in the period as ELC outscored the Wolfpack 14-10 in the period to cut the deficit to 20, 41-21.
The Midgets came out of the lockerroom ready to do battle again. A 3-pointer by Hughes and a basket by Joe Heinrichs cut the lead to 43-26. That was as close as ELC would get, the Wolfpack made a few small runs throughout the period to build the lead to 66-37.
After Joe Heinrichs hit the opening basket of the fourth quarter, the Wolfpack went on a 12-0 run to put the game away.
Hughes led ELC with 13 points while Justin Heinrichs had 11, Joe Heinrichs had nine, Noah Diekmann had six, Clay Tredway had three and Carsten Bosch and Sergio Osornio each had two.
Taylor Miedema, a 5-10 sophomore guard, led the Wolfpack with 29 points including 6-of-12 from 3-point range. Feenstra finished with23 points and VanLingen had 17.
Coach Christopher talked about the season and the seniors following the game. The Midgets finished the year at 12-12.
"At the beginning of the year, we wanted to define success in a way that didn't hinge on any single game," he said. "There were times that we played some really good basketball and other times that we had to endure," Christopher said. "We've taken a few steps in the right direction, but we're still a long ways to go to compete against a team like Western. I'd say I'm really proud of the kids and the effort that put forth and the strides they made."
Playing in their final game for ELC were seniors David Hughes, Joe Heinrichs and Clay Tredway.
Hughes and Heinrichs were two of the team's three top scorers. While Hughes led ELC in rebounding, Heinrichs and Tredway were second and third on that list.
"David was close to averaging a double-double most of the season," said Christopher. "I'm happy that he had the season he did have."
"Joe was one of our more consistent players," said Christopher. "He had his big scoring nights like the game against Emmetsburg. There was a middle stretch where he led us in scoring and a whole lot of other areas.
"Clay did whatever the coaches asked to do and did it as well as he could do," said Christopher. "We want people to approach the game like Clay-he works his tail off. He had a nice year."
Dorde 'George' Komlen, a senior foreign exchange student, also played in his final game.
ELC returns four juniors including starters Carsten Bosch and Justin Heinrichs along with substitutes Rod Fuller and Noah Diekmann. Other sophomores on the varsity are Bryce Mann, Kyle DeVary, Jack Brashear, Alex Miller and Sergio Osornio.
"We bring back a good nucleus," said Christopher. "The question is how far we develop. We need seven, eight, nine guys that can play at a higher level."