Spencer drops back-to-back
With winter weather rescheduling Spencer’s game against Algona to Saturday, the Tigers ended up in a less than ideal situation this week, playing the top team in 2A Tuesday, the No. 9 team in 3A Friday and a non-conference opponent the following day. The result after a 61-45 loss to Western Christian Tuesday was a 72-51 defeat against Spirit Lake Friday and a 76-70 overtime heartbreaker Saturday against Algona.
Colin Slattery scored the final seven Tiger points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer, during the opening quarter Friday night to give Spencer a 12-8 lead.
A back-and-forth battle through the second stanza tied the game up at 25-25 by halftime.
Then the wheels fell off for the Tigers as Spirit Lake shredded the Spencer press in the third quarter to lead 47-32 going into the fourth.
“I don’t know that that was so much a case of having defensive breakdowns,” Spencer boys basketball coach Kory Petzenhauser said. “That’s unfortunately a case where, you know, we don’t have a 6-10 kid.”
Spirit Lake’s 6-foot-10 Owen Coburn gave the Tigers trouble on both ends all night, finishing the game with 31 points on 12-of-14 shooting with 13 rebounds, three blocks and a steal.
“Michael Slattery and Michael Storey and Trevor Finkbeiner, they battled their butts off in there,” Petzenhauser said of his undersized frontcourt players. “They did the best that they could. We just don’t have the personnel to match up with that.”
“There were some things,” he continued. “When we went to our pressure, we got a little fatigued, and it allowed (Coburn) to run the floor and finish and things like that, but you’ve got to try to force some turnovers and gamble a little bit. I really think our kids played extremely hard tonight. We told them in the locker room Spirit Lake will know tomorrow when they get up they were in a battle tonight.”
Spirit Lake missed just two field goal attempts in the second half, finishing the game off 72-51.
Chase Hough led Spencer with 15 points while Slattery finished with 12.
Saturday’s game started about as poorly as possible for a noticeably fatigued group of Tigers.
Spencer made just 2-of-13 shots in the first quarter with the second being a Kade Carpenter triple with six seconds on the clock to make it a 15-5 game.
The Tigers found their footing in the second quarter to trail by just two at halftime 25-23.
However, the third mirrored the first as Spencer again only connected on 2-of-13 shots, falling behind 43-35.
Carpenter caught fire in the fourth quarter, helping the Tigers claw back, tying the game at 57-57 with his third trifecta of the stanza at the 2:18 mark.
Spencer went on to build a slim 63-60 lead under 30 seconds, but a defensive miscalculation allowed for an open 3-point attempt for Algona which found the bottom of the net to send the game to overtime.
“Defensively we just didn’t buckle down, and we made some poor defensive decisions,” Petzenhauser said. “On that three they hit to tie it, it’s a deal where you don’t help off of the ball side corner. A two isn’t going to beat you there. You’re up three. Just too many mental breakdowns today.”
Spencer got bricky again in the extra period, falling 76-70.
Carpenter scored a team-high 19 off the bench with the help of six makes from deep. Brady Kluender scored 16. Spencer somehow managed to get their shooting percentage up to 40 percent for the game, but a 15-of-32 showing at the free-throw line torpedoed the Tigers’ efforts.
“That’s the difference in the game right there,” Petzenhauser said. “It’s frustrating with the result. It’s disappointing. We knew this was going to be a tough turnaround when we had to play an opponent that’s a rival the night before, and our guys gave everything they had last night. For them to have to switch focus and play a non-league opponent on short rest, our guys just weren’t ready today.”
The tough back-to-back drops Spencer’s record to 7-9 overall and 3-7 in Lakes Conference play. League action continues Tuesday in the Field House against a Cherokee team Spencer beat 70-50 in December.