Tough road loss for Tigers

Saturday, January 5, 2013
Spencer guard Matt Finnern takes the ball to the basket during Friday's loss to Western Christian. The junior scored a game-high 21 points, but it wasn't enough as Spencer fell, 72-62. (Photos by Zach Jevne)

Western hands Spencer 72-62 defeat

Foul trouble derailed a potential Lakes Conference win on the road for the Spencer boys Friday night when they traveled to face No. 7 (2A) Western Christian in Hull. A close game in the first half, Western pulled away in the third quarter and Spencer's rally fell short in a 72-62 loss that featured 39 free throw attempts by the home team.

Two of Spencer's leading scorers, Matthew Klemme and Tanner Morris, were sidelined much of the game due to foul trouble, and both would foul out. Klemme was whistled for his fourth foul 12 seconds into the second half and would foul out on a charge in the fourth quarter. Morris couldn't avoid the referee's whistle either, as he picked up his fourth early in the third, shortly before Western would go on a run.

Spencer's Tanner Morris (behind) and Michael Gabhart double-team Western's Michael DenHerder during second-half action in Hull Friday night. Western pulled away in the third quarter and Spencer's rally fell short in a 72-62 loss.

"It's a tough pill to swallow," Spencer coach Kory Petzenhauser said. "We knew it would be tough on the road over here."

A very even game in the first quarter, the game was tied at 15 after one and Western led 33-29 at the half. With Klemme and Morris sidelined with four fouls, Western extended the lead to 63-46 early in the fourth quarter. Spencer would answer with a 12-0 run that brought them back to a 63-58 game after a Matt Finnern 3-pointer with 4:56 left in the game.

Western used 28 third-quarter points to build the lead, but Spencer's defense and shooting by Finnern and Michael Gabhart brought them back. The rally would fall short as Western paraded to the line -- hitting 30-of-39 attempts for the game.

"It very easily could have been a 20-25 point game, so for us to battle back to within four or five -- we were certainly pleased with that," Petzenhauser said. "We've got some things to shore up before the next time we play them."

Spencer shot well from the field, hitting 24-of-39 shots, but the free-throw advantage for Western made the difference. Spencer was 9-of-15 from the line, attempting 24 less free throws.

Finnern led with 21 points, including the first seven of the game for Spencer, while Gabhart added 16. Klemme and Morris had been averaging a combined 29 points for the Tigers but were limited to just seven total between them.

Michael DenHerder led Western with 18 points as the Wolfpack improve to 8-1 on the season and 6-0 in the conference.

Spencer falls to 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference. They will play at Rock Valley on Monday before hosting Sheldon on Tuesday and Spirit Lake on Friday.



SPENCER: Matt Finnern 21, Michael Gabhart 16, Blake Altenhofen 8, Nigel Nielsen 6, Matthew Klemme 5, Jalen Ohnesorge 4, Tanner Morris 2.

WESTERN: Michael DenHerder 18, Josh VanLingen 14, Taylor Feenstra 12, Kyle Fopma 11, Jeffrey Granstra 8, Ryan LeLoux 6, Jordan Folkerts 3.

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