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Bluebirds earn third place at Burrton tournament

Staff writer

Although not starting Saturday in the third-place game of the tournament, Braden Unruh contributed 21 points in the win at Burrton against Fairfield. The Goessel High School boys basketball team found its rhythm early in the game jumping out to a 12-4 lead and continuing to lead, 17-12, at the end of the first period.

A trapping defense allowed for some easy baskets and poor shooting by Fairfield contributed to a Bluebird 17-1 run in the second quarter, giving Goessel their largest lead at halftime, 34-13.

Fairfield gained confidence in the third quarter, going on a 9-2 run to finish the period with Goessel still in the lead, 42-30. The Bluebird lead would get as slim as 7 points, 42-35, before the Goessel team would begin to extend their cushion in the last six minutes of the game.

Neal Brubaker, Corey Buller, and Unruh would hit a combined 8-of-11 from the foul stripe to post a final score of 57-46.

Unruh led the team with 21 points, followed by Davis Cook with 9, Corey Buller 7, and John Berkholz and Brubaker each had 5. Trey Schmidt and Nic Buller each scored 5 points and Peter Voth contributed 2.

Cook and Unruh were selected to the all-tournament team.

Pretty Prairie

Against Pretty Prairie on Friday, with Goessel trailing by 2 points and 14 seconds remaining in the game, Jake Smucker went to the free-throw line with a 2-shot opportunity. The Goessel senior averages 1.18 points per game and had not yet scored against highly ranked Pretty Prairie. Smucker’s first shot bounced high off the rim and disappeared into the net to bring the Bluebirds within 1 point. Pretty Prairie called timeout to let the unlikely hero become nervous. Smucker’s second shot swished and the score was tied at 37-37. The Bluebird defense prevented a Bulldog score and Goessel went into overtime against the team ranked third in the state.

Pretty Prairie outscored the Bluebirds 11-5 in the extra period with a final score of 48-42.

It was a valiant effort for the Bluebirds who trailed after one quarter, 11-8. Ten consecutive points at the end of the second quarter gave the Bluebirds a 21-18 lead going into the break. A well-executed defensive battle for both teams ended at 37-37 at the end of four quarters.

Balanced scoring for the Bluebirds showed Corey Buller with 10, Cook added 9 points with 9 rebounds and Unruh scored 7. Schmidt led the team with 4 steals and 5 points. Nic Buller knocked down 5 points, Brubaker chipped in 3 points with 4 blocks, Smucker ended with two free throws, and Berkholz made a point.

Central Christian

The Goessel boys won their first round game Jan. 17 at the Burrton tournament, 62-52.

“Tonight the guys played with passion,” coach Justin Coup said.

Goessel jumped out to a 6-0 lead and led by 4 points at the end of the first quarter, 21-17.

Near the end of the second quarter, points from in the lane helped the Bluebird’s lead swell to 37-23. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Smucker helped the Bluebirds to a 47-39 lead at the end of three periods.

The Cougars narrowed the Bluebird lead to 57-52 with one minute to play in the game, but Goessel hit 5 of 8 free throws to seal the victory at 62-52.

Cook led the Bluebirds with a season-high 19 points and 12 rebounds. Unruh scored 16 points. Schmidt added 9, Berkholz hit 6, and Jake Smucker and Nicolas Buller canned 4 points each. Voth connected on two free throws and Corey Buller added 2 points, 3 steals, and 3 assists.

Last modified Jan. 27, 2011

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