In the first round of the Berean tournament Jan. 26, the Goessel High School girls’ basketball team picked up a big victory, 35-23, against 1A rival Central Christian.
For the first time in several games, the Bluebirds got an early lead and scored the first 11 points of the game.
Goessel’s defense held the Cougars to two points in the first quarter and three points in the second period.
Goessel fans hoped the Bluebirds 17-5 halftime lead would be enough momentum to carry them through to the end of the game.
The game was close in the third period as the quarter started with Central Christian outscoring the Bluebirds, 12-2, but GHS settled down and scored eight straight points to take a 29-19 lead with less than seven minutes to go in the game.
Pressure defense did not rattle the Bluebirds who ended the game, up by 12.
Scoring for the Goessel team was balanced as six players etched their names into the scorebook.
Kendra Flaming led with 10 points followed closely by Aspen Frey’s nine points.
Karis Janzen and Jessica Goertzen each dropped in six points, Karina Harvey and Shanna Klassen scored two points apiece.
“We were in the game the whole way, but we were just too sloppy,” said GHS head coach Ryan Hoopes about Friday’s second round game with host Berean.
Goessel jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but the Warriors scored the next 12 points.
Midway through the second period Goessel tied the game at 14 but Berean took a 23-19 lead at halftime.
Two baskets by Janzen in the third period kept the Bluebirds within four points, but the Warriors went on a 13-4 run to lead, 40-27, with less than four minutes to play.
Goessel scored the last six points and lost by a final score of 40-33.
Flaming came up with 13 points, Janzen eight, Frey six, while Harvey and Goertzen each notched three points.
A huge fourth quarter on Saturday against Burrton allowed the Bluebirds to erase an 11-point deficit and win, 43-35.
Goessel led 6-1 early in the first period, but the Chargers began to take advantage of Bluebird errors and went into halftime with a 20-10 lead.
It was Goessel’s turn in the third period to try to cut into the lead. The Bluebirds got as close as 24-21, but Burrton stretched its lead to 32-21 early in the fourth quarter.
Out of desperation, Goessel had to take some chances and played more aggressively on defense.
Harvey made a basket in the lane on a fast break, Flaming hit a basket for two, and Harvey then stole the ball on defense and went all the way for another layup.
With four minutes left in the game, Janzen converted on the traditional three-point play and suddenly Goessel trailed, 32-30.
On the next possession, Flaming calmly knocked down a three-pointer to give Goessel its first lead since the final seconds of the first quarter.
Burrton began matching Goessel bucket-for-bucket.
Frey hit a shot in the lane, and Janzen banked in a basket giving the Bluebirds a 37-35 lead with 2:20 to play.
Goertzen went to the free-throw line with just less than a minute to play, hoping to give the Bluebirds a four-point lead.
The first free throw went in, but the second was short and Janzen grabbed the rebound and scored.
The Goessel crowd exploded as the Bluebirds’ lead soared to five.
Burrton went cold on several attempts and had to foul in order to stop the clock.
Frey made two free throws to extend the Bluebird lead to seven points and Harvey sank one more free throw to seal the victory, 43-35.
“Early on, we made some bad decisions,” Hoopes said. “It seems like we relax a bit when we know we have to score. That is what happened in the fourth quarter.”
Although several Bluebirds had four fouls, key players had a big fourth quarter.
“I told Karis (Janzen), I need you clear to the end of this game. Don’t swat at their shots and pick up your fifth foul,” Hoopes said.
Janzen ended the night with a season-high 15 points, seven coming in the fourth quarter.
Flaming added 11 points, Harvey knocked down a season-high eight points, Frey put in six, and Goertzen ended the game with three.
Burrton likely could be a Goessel opponent for the third time this season as the Chargers host the 1A regional tournament at the end of the season.
Goessel now heads back into league play with an overall record of 5-8 and an HOA league record of 1-4.