Spirit Lake storms Tornadoes in second round

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Spirit Lake sophomore Creighton Morisch glides in for a layup in his team's 68-62 playoff win over Storm Lake Thursday. (Photo by Craig Shultz)

Spirit Lake crashed yet another postseason party.

Days after upsetting Le Mars on the Bulldogs' home court, the Indians jumped out to an early lead in Storm Lake and sent the Tornadoes packing with a 68-62 win in the second round of postseason play Thursday, Feb. 21.

The Indians led 27-11 after one quarter of play and held off a late rally to secure a spot in the substate final.

"We came out really hot and that obviously set the tone for the game," Spirit Lake coach Paul Brown said. "I think, if you looked at the past month, we haven't really been a team that comes out and sets the tone like that. I was really happy with the way they started the game. I think we had a lot of guys who played really well."

Spirit Lake senior Owen Coburn totaled 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Indians to a postseason win over Storm Lake. (Photo by Craig Shultz)

Senior Owen Coburn led the charge with 19 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and one steal.

Sophomore Creighton Morisch had 16 points and five rebounds. Senior Kip Hurd had 15 points and six rebounds off the bench.

Sophomore Brent Scott had nine points and nine assists. Senior Ben Newman had seven points and three assists in the win.

"I was really impressed with how Owen let the game come to him and didn't force things," Brown said. "I think that made him a little more efficient, but it also helped get a lot of guys involved. Creighton was able to hit some open threes. I thought Kip played well. Brent Scott had nine points and nine assists. I thought he and Ben did a good job of controlling the floor and, at the same time, defending Storm Lake's best players. We really asked a lot out of those two throughout the postseason. They guarded the two best players on each team regardless of what position they played. I thought they did a great job of defending their butts off and still being effective on offense. I was happy with the collective effort we got from everybody."

After jumping out to a big lead, the Indians suffered a setback in the second quarter of play. Storm Lake outscored the Indians 18-6 to make it a 33-29 Spirit Lake lead at the half.

Spirit Lake's Brent Scott lifts a floater over the Tornadoes defense Thursday in Storm Lake. (Photo by Craig Shultz)

The Indians responded in the third quarter, outscoring the hosts 14-7 to make it an 11-point lead heading into the final frame.

There, the Tornadoes stormed back, scoring 26 fourth-quarter points, but the Indians posted 21 to hold on for the win in front of a raucous crowd.

"Honestly, it was the best basketball crowd that I've been a part of as a player or a coach. It was really fun," Brown said. "It was a packed house from both sides. Also, when you have a really good, close ball game, the crowds were intense and riled up. It was a fun atmosphere. They made quite the run at us at the end and made it close. That got their fans involved even more. It was really cool to see, when Storm Lake went on their run and their fans got after our guys and were really loud, how our guys came together and acted as a team. They came together, calmed down, calmed each other down, and were able to pull that one out. It's really tough to do at a place like that. I was really happy with how the guys performed in that atmosphere."

With the win, the Indians (11-12) earned a spot in the Class 3A substate final against No. 2 Sergeant Bluff-Luton (19-3) Monday, Feb. 25, at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City.

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