CHEROKEE - After winning by just six points at home against Cherokee, Estherville Lincoln Central came prepared to play the Braves on the road on Friday.
The Midgets built a 14-point halftime lead and survived a second-half rally to win 61-50.
ELC's Matt Burrell had a hot-shooting night and finished with 26 points, including four 3-pointers to lead the Midget's. Cherokee's Eric Wilkie nearly matched Burrell point for point as he hit five 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 25 points.
But Burrell had more help from his teammates.
The two teams battled back and forth through the first quarter with Evan Hansen tying the game with a 3-pointer at 9-9 and Derek Nieland hitting a trey at the buzzer to give the Midgets a 12-9 lead.
Burrell hit his first 3-pointer to start the second quarter and ELC led 20-15 when they began a 9-0 run to end the half.
Adam Reiter hit a 3-pointer, Burrell scored four points and Tyler Swanson hit a shot as ELC led 29-15 at the break.
Burrell and Reiter both hit 3-pointers early in the third quarter, but Wilkie had hit three treys to help the hosts pull within 35-27. Wilkie's fourth trey pulled Cherokee within five at 37-32.
But Burrell answered with consecutive treys to push the lead back to double digits at 43-32. Cherokee hit the last basket of the period to get within 43-34.
The Braves had one more rally in the fourth quarter and twice pulled within six points at 50-44 and 52-46.
But ELC spent the rest of the period at the free throw line where they made enough to pull out the win. The Midgets were 17-of-33 from the line overall. Cherokee (1-17 overall, 1-10 in the conference) was 3-of-10 from the free throw line.
While Burrell had seven of ELC's 31 rebounds, fellow senior Jeff Perkins led ELC with eight boards.
Reiter finished with nine points while Swanson had eight, Nieland and Hansen had six, Joe Heinrichs had four and Perkins and Tucker Milburn each had one.
ELC (7-11, 4-7) travels to Spirit Lake on Tuesday.