Late Spencer surge falls short
LE MARS — Despite trailing by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, Spencer’s boys kept things interesting against Le Mars Tuesday night, forcing nine Bulldog turnovers in the fourth, but the hill was simply too steep to climb as the Tigers came up six points short in a 75-69 defeat.
“That’s who this group is,” Tiger boys basketball coach Kory Petzenhauser said of his team’s never quit attitude. “They’re not ever going to give up, and I think there’s a lot of things they’re still learning. It’s one thing when you got on the road in a non-conference game. There’s a whole ‘nother level of intensity you’ve got to get to when you go on the road in a league game. A lot of these guys were experiencing this for the first time. There are some things that we did very well tonight. I love the way our guys played all the way through the final buzzer.”
Le Mars put the pressure on early, running the floor and hitting some triples to lead 16-11 at the end of the first.
“They did a really nice job in the first half of getting out and pushing in transition,” Petzenhauser said. “We weren’t very good on our transition defense in the first half, and we gave up some layups. … It really wasn’t until we started to increase our intensity late in the game that got them uncomfortable and turned them over and allowed us to get back into it.”
The second quarter saw the Bulldogs push the lead to 11 at 37-26 going into the locker room.
Le Mars made an early push in the third to lead by 16, but the Tigers started scrapping to get it back to an 11 point gap going into the fourth down 52-41.
Spencer’s defense went to work in the final eight minutes, getting inside the Bulldogs’ shirts to force nine turnovers and make it a game.
“I think in stretches,” Petzenhauser said of his team’s ability to go all out on defense all over the floor. “I don’t think that we’re a team that can come out and pick up full court and do that kind of stuff for 32 minutes. We’ve got to have that intensity in our half court. We just weren’t connected defensively in the first half. We weren’t communicating. We weren’t helping on cutters. We gave up two or three layups in the first half just off a simple flex cut, and those are things that go back to these guys learning how to play at this level.”
Gage Garnatz also caught a little fire in the fourth quarter for the Tiger offense, scoring all 10 of his points in the frame, but in the end Spencer won the final eight minutes 28-23 to drop the game 75-69.
Freshman Karter Petzenhauser had an outstanding performance, leading Spencer with 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor and 7-of-12 shooting at the free-throw line.
“I thought he did a nice job,” Coach Petzenhauser said. “He was aggressive, but he wasn’t over aggressive. He had opportunities when he saw it to stress the defense and get downhill towards the paint. That’s one of his strengths. We’ve had some guys that are adjusting to play with him, and he’s adjusting to play with them. I think he can be better as far as a distributor, but he’s ultra competitive just like the rest of those guys, so he’s going to try to make plays to help us win.”
Michael Storey, coming off a 19 point, 15 rebound performance in game one, joined Petzenhauser and Garnatz in double figures with 10 points.
Spencer finished 21-of-42 from the floor for a 50 percent night and went 21-of-31 at the charity stripe for 66 percent. The Tigers committed just eight turnovers.
The purple and gold falls to 0-2 overall and 0-1 in Lakes Conference play with the loss. The Tigers will finally make their first appearance in the field house this season on Friday night against Storm Lake.