Raiders stop Gaels

When a see-saw battle came down to double overtime, the East Sac County boys basketball team rose to the occasion here Tuesday night.

Reed Tellinghuisen’s clutch hoop with 17 seconds remaining in the second extra frame helped lift the Raiders (18-6 overall) to a dramatic 49-48 triumph over St. Edmond in a Class 2A, District 3 final at the FDSH gym.

Tellinghuisen, a 6-foot-5 junior, delivered a game-high 23 points for ESC on 9-for-19 shooting.

“I’m feeling pretty excited right now,” said Tellinghuisen, who came in ranked first in 2A and fourth in the state with a 25.6-point per game average. “We were 0-7 in (district) finals before (Tuesday), so this is probably the biggest win in program history.”

Up next for the Raiders is a Substate 2 final against top-ranked and unbeaten West Fork (23-0) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Webster City. The Warhawks advanced with a 61-52 victory over Forest City.

In a contest that featured 21 combined ties and lead changes, East Sac County rallied back from an early eight-point deficit en route to their third straight win.

Tellinghuisen also drained a pivotal game-tying triple from the top of the key in the waning moments of regulation.

“(ESC head) Coach (Todd Bontrager) told me to try to get to the rim, or just shoot the three if I was in rhythm,” Tellinghuisen said. “I knew I had to make it.”

Aaron McElroy, a senior point guard, paced the defending state runner-up Gaels (14-9) with a career-high 14 points and four assists, while junior Robby Burke added 12 points and six rebounds. Despite committing only eight turnovers, St. Edmond shot just 38.3 percent from the field.

“We were really snakebitten in close games this season (seven of St. Edmond’s nine losses were by four points or less),” SEHS head coach Adolph Kochendorfer said. “Sometimes the ball bounces your way, and sometimes it doesn’t. I wish we could’ve had a little bit of a cushion (last night), but we never found a way to extend the lead.”

Following a late timeout, the Gaels actually had a chance to win the game in regulation, however, a three-pointer by Alex Mericle was off the mark. East Sac County’s Tyler Jacobsen also came up short on a trey attempt at the end of the first overtime.

“Going into that second overtime, our kids were so relaxed,” said Bontrager. “You could just see the confidence, and they didn’t feel any pressure.”

With the score all knotted at 45, McElroy briefly put SEHS in front by hitting the first of two free throws with 40 seconds left, setting the stage for Tellinghuisen’s decisive mid-range jumper that bounced high off the rim before falling through.

“I’ve got an ace in the pocket (Tellinghuisen), so I want ballgames to come down to one last shot,” Bontrager said. “That (mid-range jumper) is what Reed has been working on all year long. Once he gets that in his toolbox, he’ll be just nasty next year.”

Justin Kraft, a junior, also netted 12 points for the Raiders.

McElroy, Mericle, David Flattery, Aaron Chalstrom, Thomas Woodruff and Matt Remsburg all wrapped up their careers for St. Edmond, which was seeking its 14th state trip in program history and seventh since 2004 alone.

“I’m really proud of our seniors, but this was a tough way for them to go out,” said Kochendorfer. “As a coach, I’ve been through losses like this before, so I’m a little more prepared.”