It wasn't quite the start the Estherville Lincoln Central Boys Basketball Team was looking for.
The Midgets ran into a tough Harris-Lake Park team that returned several of its players from a team that finished 22-1 a year ago and was one game away from the Class 1A State Tournament.
H-LP senior Elijah Ihnen scored 18 points in the first half and finished with 24 to lead the Wolves to a 66-29 victory over the Midgets on Tuesday.
Estherville Lincoln Central’s Tyler Swanson (24) drives to the basket for the Midgets’ first two points in Tuesday’s season opener against Class 1A No. 6 Harris-Lake Park.
EDN photo by David Swartz
Though the Midgets returned all its players from a year ago, they were frustrated with missed shots in the first half. Meanwhile the visitors, rated sixth in the Radio Iowa Class 1A poll, built a 21-point lead, 35-14, by halftime.
"There's a lot of guys in the lockerrom that expect more of themselves," said ELC coach York Plagge.
The Midgets took several outside shots against the Wolves' 1-3-1 zone defense and just couldn't get any of them to fall.
"There were a lot of areas that were not quite what we hoped for," said York Plagge. "The first half was shooting. We knew depth was their weakness, but we didn't challenge their zone and make them work.
On offense, the Wolves seemed to have the range and were able to get to the basket.
"I was unhappy with our defense," said Plagge. "We weren't denying them on their cuts to the basket and we were playing behind their posts."
ELC led 2-0 after Tyler Swanson scored the first basket. When he hit a 3-pointer moments later, it tied the game at 5-5.
But the Wolves went on a 10-0 run to end the first quarter.
Swanson hit a second trey to start the second quarter, but H-LP's Brady Van Iperen answered and the visitors kept building the lead.
The third quarter wasn't much better as H-LP led 50-18 heading into the final frame.
Swanson led ELC with 12 points while Tucker Milburn and David Hughes each had four. Joe Heinrichs, Matt Burrell, Justin Heinrichs and Carsten Bosch each had two points and Jeff Perkins had one.
H-LP finished with eight 3-pointers and were 16-of-21 from the free throw line. They also committed seven turnovers.
The Midgets (0-1 overall) will quickly try to turn their fortunes around as Forest City comes to town on Friday.
The ELC Junior Varsity defeated Harris-Lake Park 55-16. The Midgets held the Wolves to three second-half points and out-rebounded them 31-7.
Rod Fuller led ELC with 13 points while Carsten Bosch had 12, Noah Diekmann had 10, Justin Heinrichs had nine, David Hughes had eight and Clay Tredway had three. Tredway also had 10 rebounds and Diekmann had seven.