In a Wheat State League game, Goessel High School senior basketball player Braden Unruh notched 30 points in a 65-56 win at Centre on Friday. Eighteen of those points came from the free-throw line to help Unruh to his best offensive performance of this season. Each team showed a strong desire to win and the game developed into a physical contest where 50 free throws were attempted.
Goessel went on a 9-0 run in the first quarter. Six points in a row by Peter Voth and a 3-pointer by Nic Buller helped the visitors to a 12-7 lead. The fast-paced game saw the first quarter end with a Goessel 20-15 lead. Unruh scored 5 points in a row, but then sat on the bench for much of the second quarter after getting his second foul. The Bluebirds stretched their lead to 13 points before the Cougars narrowed the lead at halftime to 32-24.
Following a Trey Schmidt 3-pointer, the Bluebirds enjoyed their largest lead of the game at 14 points. The Cougars’ defense gave Goessel fits, and by the end of the third quarter Centre had again narrowed the gap to 8 points, with the help of accurate free-throw shooting.
Goessel’s lead grew again to 12 points in the fourth quarter. But with just over six minutes to play, the Cougars began to take big chunks out of Goessel’s lead. At the 3:03 mark in the fourth quarter the Bluebirds called time out, leading by a score of 51-48. Although Goessel only scored one field goal in the fourth period, they managed to convert 18 of 23 free throws to seal the victory by a final score of 65-56.
Leaders for Goessel were Unruh with 30 points and 14 rebounds. Shane Goerzen dropped in 12 points, a season best for the 5’1” junior. Nic Buller ended with 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Trey Schmidt scored 6 points, Peter Voth had 6, and Drake Sterk scored 4.
Little River 43, GHS 33
On Jan. 31, Little River took advantage of Bluebird turnovers to build a lead they would never relinquish. After three baskets by Unruh and a 3-pointer by Goerzen, Goessel held a 9-8 lead. The Redskins converted several layups and finished the quarter ahead, 13-11.
The second quarter was dominated by the Little River defense, as they intercepted passes and finished on easy baskets to outscore the Bluebirds, 11-2. Five points by Unruh to end the second quarter sent the teams to the locker room with Goessel trailing, 24-18.
Goessel’s deficit grew to 9 points in the third period, scoring only 4 points. Sandwiched in between two field goals by Davis Cook, Trey Schmidt hit two baskets, and when Goerzen hit a free throw, Goessel trailed 31-37 with 2:30 to play in the game. That would be as close as Goessel could get as the Redskins controlled the ball and the Bluebirds went cold from the field (34 percent field goals). Little River won the contest, 43-33.
Leading the way for Goessel was Unruh with 13 points, and Cook added 10 points. Goerzen made 6 points with 4 steals, and Trey Schmidt hit 4 points with 7 rebounds.
The Goessel boys are now 3-3 in league play and 8-7 overall. The Bluebirds host Peabody-Burns on Friday.