How do you turn a 10-point half-time deficit into a 20-point victory?
The Estherville Lincoln Central boys did it by upping the defensive pressure and erasing the 10-point lead in the third quarter. The Midgets kept the pressure up and won the fourth quarter by 20 in a 83-63 Class 2A first-round victory over Sibley-Ocheyedan on Monday.
"We did so many things much better in the second half than we did in the first half," said ELC coach Corey Christopher. "With the pressure we applied-I looked at my assistant coach early in the fourth quarter and said, 'we're starting to wear them down.' We did a good job for 16 minutes. I still have to figure out what we did in the first half."
The win propels ELC (11-11 overall) into Saturday's second-round matchup against Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn (12-9). Game time is 6:30 p.m. in Hull at Boyden-Hull High School.
ELC started well enough in the opening frame with Joe Heinrichs scoring six points and Justin Heinrichs hitting a 3-pointer in a 9-2 run. But the Generals kept chipping at the lead. Grant Juber hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two, 15-13 with 2:20 left in the first quarter. The Generals scored the final two baskets to lead 17-15.
In the second quarter Sibley-Ocheyedan opened the period with a 9-2 run to lead 26-17. Two baskets by Carsten Bosch cut the deficit to five, 26-21 and the teams traded baskets until Juber hit his second trey. The Generals then scored the final basket of the half to lead 37-27.
"We were just stagnate in the first half," said Christopher. "I thought we had a couple good practices coming in, but we did not have a lot fire underneath us. That's hard to justify."
Christopher said he didn't talk to his team about X's and O's at halftime, but how this team wanted to finish the season. That appeared to be enough incentive.
ELC started the period with a free throw by Joe Heinrichs. After he missed the second, Justin Heinrichs snuck up behind a General player to come up with a steal that led to a layup by Bosch. Another ELC steal led to a layup by David Hughes as ELC cut the lead to five, at 37-32 in the first meeting. ELC kept working to eliminate the deficit. A basket by Bosch cut the lead to 39-36 with 5:52 remaining, but the Generals responded with a 3-pointer. Free throws by Bosch and Hughes cut the lead to 42-40 with 4:19 remaining when Juber hit another 3-pointer. A 3-pointer by the Generals' Tyler Hanna pushed the lead back to six, 48-42. But Hughes responded with a three-point play. Noah Diekmann got in the act with a layup as the lead went to one, 48-47. He then took a charge on the defensive end. ELC finally took a lead after Bosch had missed two free throws and Hughes got position to get the second miss and put give ELC a 49-48 lead with 1:39 left. Hanna responded with another 3-pointer to give the Generals their last lead of the night at 51-49, but a basket by Justin Heinrichs tied the game at 51-51.
The two teams traded baskets to start the fourth quarter, but a Justin Heinrichs 3-pointer put ELC up for good. ELC led by seven, 60-53 with 6:10 remaining. A three-point play by Hughes put ELC up 67-58 with 3:40 remaining and started a 13-0 run.
Bosch led ELC with a game-high 26 points while Joe Hrincihs had 19, David Hughes had 18 and Justin Heinrichs had 13. Diekmann finished with four points while Clay Tredway had three.
ELC was 20-of-28 from the free throw line while Sheldon was 10-of-18.
Juber led the Generals with 17 points while Hanna had 16.