It was a game for the ages-or at least for bragging rights-as the Estherville Lincoln Central senior boys' basketball players defeated the ELC Staff 56-53 in a fundraiser for the Midgets' boys basketball program on Friday.
The Staff, a team consisting of the boys' basketball coaches and other ELC personnel, trailed by as many as nine with 3 minutes left in the game.
But cut the deficit to one, 54-53, on a 3-pointer by Tyler Lutz with 37 seconds left in the contest. A steal by ELC girls coach Tony Klein appeared to give the Staff a chance, but he couldn't stay in bounds and his off-balance pass to teammate Kyle Grems went into the hands of a Senior.
ELC Seniors and Staff pose after Friday’s fundraiser for the Midgets’ boys basketball program. Front from left are Evan Hansen, Ryan Rezac, Tony Klein, Adam Reiter, Derek Nieland, Tyler Swanson; middle row: Tyler Johnson, Jeff Perkins, Brad Olsen; back row: Senior team coach Steven Wastler, Kyle Grems, John Boehnke, Matt Burrell, York Plagge, Steve McCauley, Robert Bosma, Tucker Milburn, Tyler Lutz and Dan Hewitt.
EDN photo by David Swartz
"I haven't played at this level for a while and with the adrenaline rush, the ball goes 10 feet too far," said Klein.
Then Senior Evan Hansen was fouled and made two free throws with 23 seconds remaining.
Boys' basketball head coach York Plagge had a look at a 3-pointer in the final 10 seconds to tie, but missed.
"The way I was shooting tonight I was hoping the ball would go in, rather than thinking the ball would go in," said Plagge, who was held scoreless.
The Staff still had a chance after Senior Adam Reiter missed the front end of a one-and-one with 6.2 seconds remaining.
But Senior Tucker Milburn broke up the Staff's final play.
Steven Wastler, also known as "Rock on Steven," coached the Senior squad and explained his game strategy after the victory.
"No timeouts," Wastler said. "And we did not use them. They had to stay on the court longer. We also pressured them and were aggressive. We did that and came away with the win."
The game started slowly as both teams struggled to find the range. The Seniors led 8-4 after a three-point play by Tucker Milburn, but a baseline jumper by Staffer Tyler Johnson tied the game at 8-8 with 50 seconds left in the first frame. Derek Nieland hit a layup to give the Seniors a 10-8 lead after one quarter.
Grems opened up the second quarter with a 3-point play, but after a 3-pointer by Hansen, Staffer Robert Bosma scored the next four points as part of a 6-0 run that gave them their biggest lead of the game at 17-13.
The Seniors retook the lead on a 3-pointer by Adam Reiter at 20-19. After another basket by Johnson to put the Staff ahead, the Seniors ended the quarter on a 6-1 run to lead 26-22 at the break.
The Staff stormed back behind Grems and Lutz to retake the lead in the third quarter.
The Staff last held their last lead on a 3-pointer by Johnson at 34-33 with 3:29 left in the third. But Reiter answered with consecutive 3-pointers and the Seniors held a 41-38 lead to start the final frame.
Hansen scored six points in a 10-2 run that gave the Seniors a 51-42 lead.
Grems and Lutz combined for an 11-3 run to cut the deficit to one.
Grems led all scorers with 22 points while Lutz had 16, Johnson had seven, Bosma had six and Ryan Rezac had two. Besides Plagge, John Boehnke, Steve McCauley, Tony Klein and Dan Hewitt were held scoreless.
Reiter and Hansen led the Seniors with 16 points each, Burrell had eight, Perkins had six, Tyler Swanson had five, Milburn had three and Nieland had two. Brad Olsen was the only Senior not to score.
Game notes: ELC Wrestling coach Dan Hewitt wore No. 285 on his jersey; Referee David DeVary told by Hewitt and former ELC wrestling coach Steve McCauley that if they got a takedown, he'd start counting nearfall points. Junior Joe Heinrichs was the other referee for the game and he called the lone technical.