Ellsworth drops heartbreaker in OT at Lake City tourneyThe hard-luck season for the Ellsworth High School basketball team continued as the Panthers endured their second one-point defeat.
By: Chris Harrell - Red Wing Republican-Eagle, Pierce County Herald
LAKE CITY - Chrystian Kulow thought he hit the game-winning 3-pointer for Ellsworth with eight seconds remaining in overtime against Legacy Christian Academy Thursday in the first game of the Lake City Invitational.
“It looked good right away and it felt good off my hand,” he said of his final shot.
But the Lions stole back the victory as Nate Bertsch dribbled the length of the court in six seconds and threw up a floater in the lane that fell just before the buzzer sounded for a 73-72 win.
“It’s just tough like that,” Kulow said. “We worked so hard to get back and to lose on a lucky shot like that, it just hurts.”
Kulow, a junior, did all he could while scoring a game-high 35 points with four 3-pointers for the Panthers. He also played most of the second half and overtime with a gash that needed stiches after the game. Kulow struggled with his jump shot in the first half instead attacking the basket to help set up his outside game after halftime.
“My shooting was a little flat (early),” Kulow said. “I wanted to get to the basket and to the free-throw line.”
Alex Campbell provided 19 points and eight rebounds for Ellsworth (2-7, 0-3 Middle Border) in the loss.
Colton Richards had an answer most of the night for Legacy Christian Academy (5-3), finishing with 30 points. Bertsch had eight points, Luke Anderson scored 11 points and Ross Gabrielsen knocked down four 3-pointers and had 15 points. Gabrielsen helped open up the paint for Richards and kept the Lions’ offense going in the second half.
“They hit some outside shots that kept them in it,” Powers said. “It was a good battle.”
The Panthers held a 33-32 lead at halftime but Legacy Christian Academy went on a 7-0 run to start the second half before Kulow took the lead back at 41-39 with an 8-0 run of his own. The Lions grabbed the lead again at 51-50 right after Kulow’s injury and they stayed in front until Kulow sank a runner in the lane with 31 seconds left to tie the game at 62-62.
On the ensuing possession, Richards got a wide-open layup chance right before the buzzer that he sent too strong off the backboard and Gabrielsen’s follow-up missed to send the game to overtime.
In the overtime period, Legacy Christian Academy established a 67-63 lead with 2 minutes, 19 seconds remaining and extended it to 71-66 with less than a minute left. Again, Kulow brought Ellsworth back with consecutive 3-pointers to pull ahead 72-71 before Bertsch’s game-winner.
Both teams had difficulty at the free-throw line but the Panthers’ misses came at crucial moments in the second half. Ellsworth was 14-for-22 and the Lions shot 13-for-23 from the line.
“That was pretty evenly matched,” Powers said. “The front end of some 1-and-1’s would have been nice. … We just need to make our trips to the free-throw line count.
“We’re right there and the boys know that.”
The Panthers play Mid-Pacific Institute, of Hawaii, Friday at 3 p.m.