Algona boys basketball is on to the second round of the Class 3A playoffs after surviving a 51-49 scare on Monday night against Spencer.
After trailing 32-16 at the half, the Tigers rallied gradually throughout the second half, eventually using a late 7-0 run to tie the game at 45 with 1:42 left. The Bulldog offense, which struggled the entire second half, got perhaps their biggest shot of the season, as senior Tristin Larsen drilled his second three pointer of the night with 1:13 left to put Algona back up by three. After a missed three by Owen Olson on Spencer’s next trip down the floor, Tiger senior Kaleb Cline was called for an over the back foul on Algona sophomore Jack Limbaugh during the rebound. With the Bulldogs in the double bonus, Limbaugh would miss the first free throw, but bank in the second, giving Algona two possession lead with 56 seconds left.
Spencer was not finished yet however, as Olsen hit a foul line jumper with 34 seconds left to cut the Bulldog lead to two. After the teams traded free throws on the next two possessions, Spencer sent Bulldog junior Landon Welp to the charity stripe with 8 seconds left and a one point Algona lead. Welp made the first free throw, but missed the second, as Cline rebounded and quickly got the ball to Olson. Spencer elected not to use their final timeout, as Olson sprinted the ball up the floor, faded into the far corner, and missed a jumper at the horn.
Early in the ballgame, it seemed unlikely the game would come down to the final seconds, as the Bulldogs used a quick pace and accurate three point shooting to build a 21-9 lead at the end of one. Although Spencer slowed the game down during the second quarter, Algona grabbed some momentum before halftime on a Simon Feucht three pointer before the buzzer, one of five Feucht first half threes, extending Algona’s lead to 32-16.
Algona struggled with the variety of zones Spencer presented defensively, including a lot of minutes facing a 1-3-1. After Algona’s 21 point first quarter, the Bulldogs only scored 30 points the rest of the way, including being outscored 33-19 in the second half. Algona also failed to capitalize on free throw opportunities, converting on 13/29 from the foul line.
Feucht led the way for Algona with 15 points, while fellow senior Caden Weber added 12, while Olson scored 23 to lead Spencer. The Tigers finish the season at 8-14, while Algona improves to 15-7, picking up their sixth win in a row. The Bulldogs will visit Humboldt on Thursday night in the next round, as the Wildcats topped Perry 89-66 on Monday night. Algona will try to snap a six game losing streak to their conference rivals, including two losses during the regular season that saw double digit second half leads evaporate for the Bulldogs. You can hear all the action on Thursday night on KLGA 92.7 FM, as the game will be video streamed on the Algona Radio YouTube channel.