The Storm Lake boys basketball team dominated nearly all four quarters of a road game here Friday night, only to lose to the Sheldon Orabs, 63-54.
The final score did not begin to tell the whole story. It was cold shooting in the second half by Storm Lake, combined with constant chipping away from the charity stripe by the Orabs, that edged Sheldon closer through the second half.
Storm Lake led until just 1:59 left in the game when it was the Orabs that put together some key plays to win it 63-54.
Storm Lake dominated the contest the first half, aided in great part by a coaching strategy that switched key point players to confuse the Orab defense. That helped Storm Lake finish the first period 12-10. Some back-to-back 3-pointers by Logan Masters plus a bucket by Alex Spielman drew the Tornadoes to a 12-point lead with 3:40 to go in the half.
Orab Steve Kirschbaum nailed a 3-pointer with seconds remaining to narrow the Storm Lake lead to 33-24 at the half.
The third quarter saw the Orabs nipping at the Tornadoes' heels. Casey Morgan started to warm up his shooting, though, to help maintain the Storm Lake lead 45-38 at the end of the third quarter.
Steve Kirschbaum tied it up 49-49 with 3:30 left in the final period. A two-point field goal by Derrick Randall restored the lead with a couple minutes left to make it 51-49, Tornadoes.
Things started to fall apart suddenly, though, with a combination of solid shooting from the field by the Orabs plus bonus shots at the line.
Kirschbaum hit for 2 points from the floor plus drew a foul from Ben Thompson and went to the line to make it 52-51, Sheldon.
The point of no return came when Kirschbaum hit a 3-pointer and drew a foul from Matt Adams at the same time. The Orabs added to their lead at the free-throw line to finish it 64-54.
It was the second half where Sheldon dominated, outscoring Storm Lake 39-21. Storm Lake managed just 6 of 28 from the field in the second half.
At the charity stripe, Storm Lake was 10-16. Sheldon drew more fouls, though, and with 21-32 from the line with an improved free throw percentage in the second half, that made a big difference in the outcome.
With the loss, the Tornadoes dropped to 0-4 on the season and to 0-3 in the Lakes Conference.
Key scorers for Storm Lake were Logan Masters with 17, Derrick Randall with 10, and Matt Adams with 6.
Kirschbaum scored a game-high 29 points for Sheldon.
Sioux Central 49
Alta guard Brad Payne hit a long three-point shot from the left corner with a minute remaining here Friday night, vaulting Alta to a 53-49 win over Sioux Central in a tough Northwest conference matchup.
The Cylones were down by two points at the time Payne hit the shot and they never trailed after that.
Alta had a comfortable 30-17 lead at the half but let it slip away. The Rebels, who had also trailed 18-11 after the first quarter, outscored Alta 22-9 in the third quarter to force a tie at 39 after three.
"We did a nice job offensively and defensively in the first half," said Alta coach Larry McNutt. "We knocked down our shots and gave ourselves a cushion to work with."
Despite not shooting free throws well down the stretch, McNutt said, his team played just well enough to outscore Sioux Central 14-10 in the fourth quarter for the four-point win.
"I thought we played well especially defensively most of the game," McNutt added. "We held their leading scorer (Alex Rehnstrom) to just nine points and that was key."
Alta was led by a balanced scoring attack that showed its overall depth. Tom Hinkeldey led the way with 11 points while Payne had ten. In addition, Kylor Cone and Colin Huseman each added seven, post player Adam Pedersen six and post player Justin DeMan six.
Senior post player Matt McKibben led the Rebels with a game-high 12 points while Tyler Walker and Luke Lovin each added ten and Rehnstrom nine.
St. Mary's 35
Despite 13 points from post player Turail Buol, Pomeroy-Palmer crusied in this contest.
Jeff Foell and Devin Landgraf each added seven points for the Panthers.
"We kept it close in the intial quarter," said St. Mary's coach Brad Wild. "But Pomeroy does an excellent job of controlling tempo, causing mistakes and basically taking teams out of the styles that want to play.
"They played solid defense, moved the ball well, shot well and hit the glass hard."
PP led 12-9 after the first quarter but outscored the Panthers 21-4 in the second quarter and never looked back.
The Knight defense forced 23 St. Mary's turnovers.