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Class 3A Region 1: ELC 50, Pocahontas Area 44 32 minutes to victory

ELC plays a complete game to open postseason competition

February 12, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

Thirty-two minutes of effort gave the Estherville Lincoln Central girls their second win of the season, as the Midgets defeated defending Class 3A state champion Pocahontas Area 50-44 on Saturday.

"We finally played a complete game with energy and effort," said ELC coach Don Martindale. "And we executed down the stretch."

The Midgets advance to Wednesday's 3A Region 1 semifinal in Rockwell City against 15th-ranked South Central Calhoun (20-2). The Titans opened tournament play with a 64-30 victory over Southeast Valley.

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Meanwhile, except for ELC's 35-30 win in the third game of the regular season, the Midgets didn't have much experience in close games. ELC had eight-point losses to Western Christian and Spencer, otherwise, the Midgets lost by double digits.

Against Pocahontas Area, which graduated all five starters plus four more seniors from last year's state championship squad, ELC trailed most of three quarters.

In the first quarter, ELC senior Morgan White scored eight of the team's 13 points to keep her team within striking distance as Pocahontas led 17-13.

A low-scoring second quarter ended with a Pocahontas Area playerrebounding a missed free throw and scoring a layup to give the hosts a 23-18 lead at the break.

ELC, which struggled from long range in the second quarter, started attacking the basket in the third quarter. White gave ELC its first lead on a baseline drive at 27-26 with 1:35 left in the third period. That lead lasted just 10 seconds, as Pocahontas Area's Delaney Ehn drew a foul and made two free throws on the other end. The Indians then got a 3-pointer from Jill Vonnahme to push their lead to four, 31-27.

However, Brianne Vermeys made a free throw with 22 seconds. And then with Pocahontas Area playing for the last shot of the period, Jadynn Moore came up with a steal and layup to cut the deficit to one, 31-30, to start the final frame.

To start the final period, Lindsey Jensen converted a one-and-one to give ELC the lead at 32-31.

Free throws by White and Josie Condon pushed ELC's advantage to 35-31 when Jensen picked up her fifth foul with more than 7 minutes still left in the game.

However, ELC would never trail again.

A 3-pointer by Condon pushed ELC's lead to six, 38-32, with 5 minutes remaining. The Midgets kept attacking the basket and while struggling to connect on the layups, both White and Condon did well at the free throw line. Condon made 7-of-8 free throws in the final 2 minutes to help ELC put the victory away. She finished 8-of-10 from the free throw line and had 13 points.

White finished with a game-high 20 points while Vermeys had eight, Kendall Evans had four, Moore and Jensen each had two and Brooke Vermeys had one.

"We played through adversity and had great play from everyone," said Martindale. "For us to do this is a feather in our cap."

Up next, South Central Calhoun plays in the Twin Lakes Conference. Their two losses this season are to Sioux Central (55-44) and Newell-Fonda (68-49). They are led by 5-5 junior guard Maddie Jones, who averages 20.5 points per game and leads the team in rebounds, assists and steals.



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