Area boys basketball: Ellsworth edges Lake City in final seconds
ELLSWORTH - Ellsworth hit its last shot and Lake City missed its last shot in the final 11 seconds of Monday's non-conference game as the Panthers won 54-53.
Nick Niedfeldt made a jumper with 10.9 second left to put Ellsworth up by one point. He also sank four free-throws late in the fourth quarter, part of an 11-point effort.
Niedfeldt was able to stay in the ballgame with four fouls while the Tigers were without their two leading scorers late in the game. Both Austin Gilles, who led Lake City in scoring with 14 points, and Drew Swanson, who had 10 points, fouled out.
"Nick did a great job for us when we needed it," Ellsworth coach Cory Brathol said. "Hopefully we can keep him out of foul trouble because you see what he can do for us when he's in there."
Without their primary post players, the Tigers were unable to build a sizable lead in the second half as they missed four open shots down low.
"Having both players in foul trouble allowed Ellsworth to stay in the game," Lake City coach Shawn Sweeney said. "And we could have put them away if we had made those easy looks we had right under the basket."
After Niedfeldt made his shot, Ellsworth looked to have sealed the win with a steal. But Lake City stole the ball right back and called time out with 3.8 seconds to go. The Tigers were able to set up a last shot but it did not fall.
The Panthers' tenacious press wore down the Tigers thanks to good bench play from Matt Huppert and Jimmy Miska. Huppert finished with nine points.
"Matt Huppert (was) unbelievable tonight," Brathol said. "He really improved 100 percent from our first game."
But Lake City took a 53-52 lead thanks to three-pointers from Elliot Grimley, Travis Bremer and Travis Heitman.
"All three players are good perimeter shooters and we did a good job of getting them the ball." Sweeney said.
Heitman and Bremer both scored eight points and Grimley scored five points. Ellsworth's leading scorer was Isaac Kauffman with 13 points. Drew Hipple scored seven points and Caleb Peterson had six points.
Ellsworth evens their record at 1-1 while Lake City dropped their season opener.