The Lions and Lady Lions were in action tonight Ellsworth. Both teams coming off of close losses to the highly ranked Halstead had good energy going into the matchups.
The girls game was truly the tale of two halves. The first quarter was a defensive battle, with relatively clean efforts by both teams. Few fouls, and man to man defense paired with poor offensive efforts led to a 0-0 first quarter. The shutout continued for a shockingly long time, lasting until only 5 minutes remained in the first half. Zoie Shupe for Minneapolis drew first blood with a 2 pointer. Ellsworth answered immediately, and it was off to the races. First half score 9-5, Bearcats taking the lead into the locker room.
In the second half, Ellsworth came our roaring, and the Lady Lions struggled to keep up. 6′ Junior Lakyn Tenbrink led the way for the Bearcats, putting up 10 points in the second half. Senior Kylie Fuller was the only thing keeping the Lady Lions in the game, with 8 points in the third quarter.
With 5 minutes left to go in the game, the Lady Lions trailed by 12 points, and Ellsworth showed no sign of slowing down. However, they found themselves in foul trouble, and left the door open for Minneapolis to make a comeback. They did just that.
Brilliant defense, along with great post play spearheaded the comeback for the Lady Lions. They went 12-0 in the next 4:30 to tie the game up 29-29. Tenbrink stepped up for the Bearcats and scored with seconds left on the clock. Senior Karisma Vignery made her way down the court, and put up a last second 3 point attempt to win the game. The shot missed, but Fuller stuck with the play, and went back up strong, scoring a basket, and getting fouled in the process.
Now, with 0.0 on the clock, Fuller stands alone at the line, with a chance to win the game outright and complete the comeback. The shot rattled around in the rim for what felt like forever, before falling to the floor. Overtime commenced.
After the first 3;45 of overtime, the Lady Lions stood down 3. Kyler Fuller got the ball below the basket, but defense prevented her from getting any kind of shot off. Ellsworth inbounded with 6 seconds left on the clock, Vignery attempted to foul, but did not get the call. The clock ran out, and the Lady Lions lost the overtime thriller to the Bearcats 37-34.
The men’s game featured plenty of offense, and plenty of passion from both sides.
The Lions lead the first quarter 15-10, with Spencer Davidson and Kaden McCullick leading the team with 4 points each.
The second quarte featured more scoring, including Bearcats John Kyler coming off the bench with 7 points and perfect shooting. Ellsworth dropped 16 points in the second quarter, but the Lions were able to stay out in front again, scoring 17 as a team. First half ended 32-26, Lions with the lead.
The second half, things got interesting for a bit. The Bearcats scored 13 to the Lions 11, cutting the lead to 4. In the fourth quarter, the Lions turned it on, and pulled away to close out the game. Minneapolis’ Seniors won for the first time in the Ellsworth gymnasium, 62-51.
Scoring leaders for the Lions: Jonah Ausherman: 12, Kaden McCullick: 13. and Spencer Davidson: 17 (led all scorers).
Both Minneapolis teams are back in action this Friday against Sacred Heart.