The Iowa Lakes men's basketball defeated Ellsworth 58-55 to wrap up their first-ever Iowa Community College Athletic Conference championship on Saturday.
The Lakers defeated the Panthers without one of their starters, Kelly Madison, out of the lineup with a sprained ankle.
"It was a sloppy game and we turned it over quite a bit," said Iowa Lakes coach Troy Larson.
"But I was very emotional before the game," he said. "It's been a fun year and I'm really proud of them. It's good for both the sophomores and the program."
The Lakers end the season with an 11-3 record in the conference, which gives them the home court advantage through the playoffs-if they can keep winning.
The conference tournament was scheduled to start today, but ICCAC officials moved the first-round game to Wednesday. The No. 1-seeded Lakers will host No. 8 seed Clinton at 7 p.m. The winner will play the Iowa Central vs. Southwestern winner at 7 p.m. on Friday with the region final on Sunday at 3 p.m. The highest seeded team hosts the game.
Meanwhile, in the first meeting between Iowa Lakes and Ellsworth, the Lakers came away with a 92-90 overtime victory in Iowa Falls.
The indication that Saturday's contest featured tougher defense as indicated by neither team scoring in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the game.
When the teams finally broke the lead on the basket neither team could gain a true advantage. Ellsworth led by two or three points until Deondre Parks tied the game at 15-15 with 8:15 remaining. After the Panthers scored the next two baskets, Laker sophomore center sophomore Josh Schaben scored the next four points for the Lakers and assisted to Colton Neff to give the Lakers a 21-19 lead.
But the teams were still tied at 23-23 when Ben Shellim hit a 3-pointer to cap the half and give the Lakers a 26-23 edge at the break.
Ellsworth opened the second half with a 10-4 run and again seemed to hang on to a small lead until Schaben tied the game with a tip-in of a miss by Shellim.
Ellsworth came back with a 3-pointer but Tate Harmon hit his only basket of the game to tie the contest at 41-41.
The game was tied twice more until Deondre Parks hit a 3-pointer to give the Iowa Lakes the lead, 48-45, for good with 5:05 remaining in the game.
Shellim added a couple free throws to push the lead to five and the Lakers held a two-possession advantage until Ellsworth's Malcolm Canada hit a 3-pointer with about 10 seconds remaining.
But Kevin Larson sealed the win with two free throws to put Iowa Lakes ahead five, 58-53.
The Lakers shot 59.4 percent (19-of-32) from the field compared to 36. 8 percent (21-of-57) by the Panthers.
The Lakers overcame 16 turnovers to just six by Ellsworth.
Iowa Lakes also shot well at the free throw line making 16-of-22 while Ellsworth was 7-of-13.
Parks led the Lakers with 16 points while Schaben finished with 14, Shellim had 11, Colton Neff had 10, Harmon had three and Larson and Mark Miedema each had two.