STORM?LAKE - Just a few minutes into Friday's boys basketball game at Storm Lake and one wasn't sure what kind of game it was going to be. At the end of the night, it was a heartbreaking three-point loss for the E-Hawks in a 61-58 decision with Storm Lake.
The E-Hawks fell to 1-3 in Lakes Conference play and 2-4 overall as they gear down for the first half of the season. Emmetsburg will close out the first half of the season Thursday night in a non-conference tilt with the Pioneers of Okoboji at Milford.
Storm Lake got off to a quick start in Friday's contest, using some fast breaks and a couple of E-Hawk misses to jump out to a 6-0 lead before Emmetsburg could find the range of the bucket. Emmetsburg would battle back at a cost, as senior Ryan Kliegl would be rung up with three personal fouls in the first quarter, forcing him to the bench early with Austin Krause taking his place in the lineup.
Emmetsburg’s Jake Jackson flips a pass over the defense after driving the baseline in Friday’s game at Storm Lake. Jackson would finish the night with 28 points to lead all scorers in the E-Hawk loss. --Dan Voigt photo
At the end of the first quarter, Emmetsburg trailed by an 18-12 tally, but in the second quarter, Emmetsburg would struggle early, only to find some spark in the closing minutes of the half to cut Storm Lake's lead to four points at halftime, trailing the Tornadoes by a 35-31 tally.
The late run in the first half carried through for the E-Hawks to start the second half, as Emmetsburg tied the score up at 37-37 with 6:00 to go in the third frame. But, some errant shots would allow Storm Lake to fight back and retake the lead, and expand their lead to seven points when the quarter ended at 53-47.
There was no question what Emmetsburg needed to do in the final eight minutes - make shots and play defense against a very quick Storm Lake team. With Ryan Kliegl back in the lineup to start the final quarter, it didn't take long before Kliegl was fouled out, just over a minute into the quarter.
But the E-Hawks kept battling, matching the Tornadoes bucket for bucket, and managing to get a couple of steals and cut into the Storm Lake lead. With 5:00 to play in the contest, Emmetsburg had cut the deficit to four points, 53-57, and kept working the defense hard in the next couple of minutes to narrow the gap to a digit at 56-57 with 2:30 to go.
The E-Hawks got a quick stop and brought the ball downcourt to take the lead at 58-57 with 2:05 to go off a layup by Jake Jackson.
Storm Lake would answer quickly with a bucket to retake the lead at 59-58, but Emmetsburg would never regain the lead.
After a traveling turnover on Storm Lake with :58 to go, the E-Hawks had a golden opportunity, only to see Jake Carlson's shot rim in and out.
The Tornadoes would draw a foul on the resulting possession and made one for a 60-58 advantage with :32 to go.
The E-Hawks took over and worked downcourt but an aggressive defensive play forced an over-and-back call to give the ball back to the Tornadoes with :15.3 to go. A foul would put Storm Lake on the line again, and the resulting free throw made the score 61-58 with :14 to go.
Emmetsburg whipped down the court and a three-point shot by Carlson bounced off the rim with :02 to go in the game. But on the rebound try, Michael Pugh was fouled, sending the sophomore to the charity stripe on the bonus shot, but the ball missed and was touched by the Tornadoes, giving Emmetsburg a final, desperation chance.
With :00.5 on the clock, the ball was inbounded to Marcus Akridge on the right side of the lane, but his scoop shot missed as the buzzer sounded for the wrenching 61-58 loss.
Jake Jackson would lead all scorers with 28 points, while Marcus Akridge tallied nine. Zach Overberg scored seven points, with Jake Carlson and Austin Krause both adding six points and Ryan Kliegl scored two points.
After two games with a disparity in fouls, Emmetsburg would make 11 of 20 free throws in the contest while Storm Lake made 10 of their 19 attempts at the charity stripe.