SPIRIT LAKE - Spirit Lake notched their first conference win of the season Friday night, holding off Storm Lake 59-49 despite four three-point bombs by the green-and-white's senior Courtney Goodchild and two more by sophomore Carsen Anderson off the bench.
The two teams are facing mirror challenges to date in the season, both young and fielding no players taller than 6'3" as they struggle to stay out of the Lakes Conference cellar.
Spirit Lake got on the scoreboard first, and the teams played even from there, swapping the lead for a 13-11 Indians edge at the end of the first quarter.
Both teams struggled to find offense in the second. Storm Lake grabbed the lead 14-13 midway through the quarter. They slipped behind and missed a couple of point-blank opportunities in the final minute of the half, but Michael McCabe swished a three-pointer with seconds remaining to pull the Tornadoes to within one at the half 22-21.
Storm Lake took the lead on a couple of Taylor Anderson shots early in the third. but Spirit Lake's defense began to take a toll, and the Indians built a seven-point lead late in the half. Courtney Goodchild hit his fourth three-pointer to help draw the Tornadoes to within 37-33 at the end of the period. The Tornadoes came out cold in the final stanza. Spirit Lake built the lead to 11 midway into the final quarter as Tornado J.B. Tut fouled out early and the Storm Lake offense didn't score in the period until the final three minutes. Carson Anderson carombed in his second three-pointer of the period to cut the lead to nine in the late going, but Spirit Lake held on for a 59-49 victory.
Spirit Lake's Mitch Peschon dominated the scoring, with 22 points including 11 of 13 free throw attempts.
Storm Lake was lef by Goodchild with 12 points. Carsen Anderson came of the bench with seven points, and Taylor Anderson and Nolan Cone each contributed seven.
"The start of the fourth quarter was a real killer," coach Bob Grant said, "but you have to like the boys' effort at the end. They were really scrapping."
His team has hoped to force Spirit Lake to the line to get back into the game, but couldn't get the ball out of their best shooters' hands to deal out fouls, he said.
The Indians (3-5) hit on 24 of 38 foul shots, while Storm Lake had only nine points on 18 tries at the line.
Now 1-8, 1-4 in the conference, Storm Lake has games at LeMars and Estherville-Lincon Central next week.