In a fast-paced game Friday, the Goessel High School boys’ basketball team out-hustled the Wildcats from Northern Heights to begin the season with a 57-53 victory.
“This was the pace we expect for this year,” said head coach Justin Coup. “It will be different than what Goessel fans have been used to seeing.”
Kendall Voth began the scoring for the Bluebirds with five first-quarter points and exchange student Nikko Herman knocked down two three-pointers as Goessel shot out to a 16-10 first quarter lead.
The Bluebirds began the second quarter with nine straight points, but the Wildcats scored seven straight and got as close as 29-22 in the first half.
Northern Heights nearly erased the 11-point halftime deficit by scoring the first nine points of the third quarter, but a Travis Fensky three-pointer gave the Bluebirds a 36-31 lead.
Good defense and ball movement allowed Goessel to expand its lead 47-35 at the end of three periods.
Northern Heights stayed within striking range with the accuracy of Roman Murray’s 22 points as they slowly narrowed the gap, using missed free throws by the Bluebirds as opportunities to gain ground.
A Wildcat-three pointer with 2:30 to play in the game gave Northern Heights its first lead of the game, 53-52.
Herman hit a free throw, Aaron Reimer finished a lay-up, and Craig Banman hit two free throws for five straight points and the Bluebirds took the lead for good.
The Wildcats could not take advantage of six missed free throws by the Bluebirds at the end of the game.
“For the first game of the season, this was a good win for us,” Coup said. “We missed some tired shots at the end of the game, but we played well.”
Scoring for the Bluebirds were: Voth 17 (seven rebounds), Banman 14 (six assists), Fensky seven, Herman seven, Reimer five, Weston Hiebert four (eight rebounds), and Chad Wedel three.