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ELC’s balanced attack topples North Union hoopsters

FAST BREAKING — North Union guard Gage Madden (with basketball) motors upcourt to trigger a fast-break chance during Iowa prep action Monday night in Armstrong. North Union’s Jay Heinen (23) and Carter Anderson (25), along with Estherville-Lincoln Central’s Will Larson (11), watch the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ARMSTRONG — Estherville-Lincoln Central’s balanced offensive attack proved too much for the North Union basketball team to overcome Monday night.

Owen Larson produced game-highs of 15 points and five steals to complement three assists to engineer the visiting Midgets’ 71-45 non-league triumph over the Warriors in Armstrong.

ELC demonstrated his team-oriented philosophy as all five starters reached double figures in scoring, with each Midget distributing at least two assists.

Will Larson collected 14 points and doled out a game-best six assists, Ryan Schiltz netted 13 points and dished out four helpers, Matt Christensen supplied 10 points, five boards and two assists, while Kevin Egeland chipped in 10 points and four set-up passes for ELC.

The Midgets utilized full-court defensive pressure to trigger a game-opening 9-0 surge as Owen Larson tossed in a running one-hander before stealing the Warriors’ ensuing pass and finding Egeland for the lay-in.

Schiltz later drove and kicked to Will Larson for a 3-pointer before Egeland fired a 30-foot outlet pass to a breaking Schiltz for a layup.

Aidan Fries’ hard-nosed, floor-burning defense finally ended North Union’s scoring drought as the junior guard sank two free throws after tracking down the loose basketball with 5:43 left in the first quarter.

Fries pared the Warriors’ eventual deficit at the quarter to 22-11 by pocketing one of his three steals and earning two more charity tosses.

Gage Madden and Logan Odegaard combined to generate nine of North Union’s 14 second-quarter points to actually outscore ELC by one during the frame to trail by 10 at intermission.

Odegaard converted a Fries low-entry pass for a turnaround in the paint before hitting a putback basket midway through the second segment. Madden then banked home a pull-up runner with 30 seconds left before halftime to carve ELC’s margin to 35-25.

Jay Heinen tossed in a baseliner off a Madden assist to open the third quarter for the Warriors, but Will Larson’s trifecta from the left corner triggered the Midgets’ momentum-changing 13-0 offensive surge.

Ryan Schiltz’s theft-turned-assist to a breaking Owen Larson was followed by Will Larson’s steal and pull-up 10-footer in traffic. Christensen then fed Egeland on a cutter in the lane before Egeland turned passer on a threaded assist to Will Larson. Christensen capped the double-digit run with a baseline leaner for a 48-27 edge.

Madden’s two free throws and a runner by Luke Schmidt breathed life into the Warriors with 2 minutes remaining in the third only to watch Ryan Schiltz reel off six unanswered points for the Midgets.

Schiltz drained a left-wing 3-pointer off a pass from Will Larson before Larson’s incredible court-length outlet hit a breaking Schiltz perfectly for a LeBron-esque floater and an ensuing traditional 3-point play with 1:07 left in the third.

Fries topped North Union with 10 points, while Madden and Schmidt each tossed in eight points and grabbed four boards. Madden also pocketed four steals.

North Union (0-2) plays host to Forest City tonight in Armstrong, while ELC (2-1) travels to Hull, Iowa, tonight to face Western Christian.

ELC 22 13 27 9 — 71

NU 11 14 10 10 — 45

NORTH UNION (45)

Schmidt 3-4 2-4 8, Madden 2-6 4-6 8, N. Schiltz 1-6 1-2 3, Fries 2-5 6-7 10, Heinen 2-6 0-0 5, Anderson 0-1 0-0 0, Neusch 1-2 0-0 3, Odegaard 3-7 0-1 6, T. Fothergill 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 14-37 15-22 45.

ELC (71)

R. Schiltz 5-10 2-3 13, Egeland 5-5 0-0 10, Christensen 4-6 2-2 10, O. Larson 7-9 02- 15, W. Larson 6-8 0-0 14, Howard 0-4 2-2 2, J. Jensen 0-2 2-2 2, Ingvall 1-7 0-0 2, D. Jensen 0-0 0-2 0, Nissen 0-2 0-2 0, Wright 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 29-54 8-15 71.

3-pointers: ELC 5-18 (W. Larson 2-2, Wright 1-1, O. Larson 1-1, R. Schiltz 1-6, Howard 0-3, Ingvall 0-4, Nissen 0-1); North Union 2-7 (Neusch 1-1, Heinen 1-4, N. Schiltz 0-2). Rebounds: ELC 30 (J. Jensen 7, Christensen 5); North Union (19 (Madden and Schmidt 4 each). Assists: ELC 20 (W. Larson 6, R. Schiltz and Egeland 4 each); North Union 4. Steals: ELC 14 (O. Larson 5); North Union 6 (Madden 4).

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