Tiger pressure bottles up Midgets

Sunday, January 7, 2018
Spencer’s Brady Kluender goes to the left hand for the reverse layup during the Tigers’ 58-45 win over ELC in the Field House Friday night. Kluender finished with a game-high 21 points. (Photos by Nate Shaughnessy)

At this point it seems like three things in life are assured: death, taxes and the Tiger offense will light it up in the second quarter. Following a 24-point effort in the second stanza during a 58-45 win over Estherville Lincoln Central in the Field House Friday night, the Tigers have now put up 211 points in the second frame all season. The fourth has been their second best offensive quarter with 139 points to date.

“We were really active in the pressure again, causing some problems, and we were able to get some live ball turnovers and get things in transition,” Spencer boys basketball coach Kory Petzenhauser said of his team’s 24-6 run in the second quarter. “We forced them on more than one occasion to throw the ball out of bounds. They had a couple travels because they were sped up. Our guys really did a nice job of getting the game to our tempo.”

Tempo was everything for the Tigers Friday night.

“We told the team coming in (tempo) was hands down the key,” Petzenhauser explained. “The two teams play drastically different styles. If we played this game in the 40s, it was going to be a dogfight. Fortunately, we were able to have that big quarter because we really dropped the ball in the second half.”

ELC enjoyed the pace of play in the opening eight minutes despite Spencer creeping out to an 11-9 lead. The Tigers then put the Midgets in their second quarter pressure cooker to lead 35-15 in the locker room.

Things got a little ugly for Spencer in the third as the Tigers committed six of their nine turnovers in the game, allowing ELC to hang around at 43-28 going into the fourth.

Petzenhauser hopes the third quarter struggles weren’t a result of his team letting off the gas due to the big lead.

“If that’s the case, that shouldn’t be the case,” he said. “Our guys understand in this league there aren’t going to be any opponents that give up, so we talked about it coming out of halftime that we had to maintain our pressure on them, but when you turn it over, you can’t get your pressure set. When you don’t rebound the basketball, you can’t get in transition, so some of the things we did so well in the first half we kind of fell asleep on in the second half.”

Spencer righted the ship in the fourth, getting two quick buckets from Brady Kluender and another a minute later from Kade Carpenter to open up a 49-29 gap.

ELC made a late push, but the outcome was never in doubt as the Tigers moved to 6-4 overall and 2-4 in the Lakes Conference with the 58-45 win.

Kluender finished with a game-high 21 points, tied Michael Slattery for the team-lead in rebounds with seven and tied Colin Slattery for the team-lead in assists with five. He also had a team-high three steals. Chase Hough canned two triples to join Kluender in double figures with 11 points.

Spencer went 23-of-51 from the floor for a 45 percent night.

Friday marked the fourth straight victory for Spencer which will travel to Sheldon Tuesday night for non-conference play.

Spencer’s Michael Storey rises up to rip down a rebound over two Midgets in his first game action of the season after sitting out the first chunk of the season due to injury.
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