Written by Brian Stucky Thursday, 08 March 2007 18:00Bluebirds take an 11-point against Sharon Springs-Wallace County at Hays The Goessel Bluebird boys' basketball team captured a first-round win at the Class 1A state tournament over the Sharon Springs-Wallace County Wildcats Thursday by a score of 65-54 at Gross Memorial Coliseum at Fort Hays State University.
Painted faces, blue-and-white beads, hair ribbons, blue shirts and pep signs flooded the student section, as Goessel made its first at state since 1989, an absence of 18 years.
Goessel fans fondly remember a three-year run at state with a third place in 1987 and a state championship in 1988 under coach Chet Roberts, plus a runner-up showing in 1989 under coach Chuck Voth.
The 2007 version of the Bluebirds tried to match a height advantage against Sharon Springs' short but quick team.
The first quarter was a tight battle with Goessel edging the Wildcats 13-11.
In the second quarter, Goessel's 6-foot, 7-inch center Nathan Ensz scored in the lane to help build a 29-25 lead by halftime.
Goessel used tighter defense and an eight-point surge by Garrett Hiebert to begin to pull away in the third frame, in spite of allowing Sharon Springs offensive rebounds with two and three shots at the basket.
The Bluebirds hit 12 free throws in the fourth quarter and led by as much as 14 points before the final buzzer sounded with the 11-point win.
Scoring leaders for Goessel were Hiebert with 23 points and 12 rebounds, Nathan Ensz with 13 points and Travis Buller with 12.
For Sharon Springs, the 6-2 freshman Tate Andrews scored 19 points before fouling out, and Jeff Henrick had 18.
"We gave up too many offensive rebounds (18)," Coach Justin Coup said. "What went right was the fact that we played defense.
"Our zone didn't look good at times, but the thing about our zone was that it slowed them down," he added. "We didn't want to get into a track meet with them. So, we did a good job with that.
Then, our man-to-man is the reason why we extended the lead. We were up by seven, then all of a sudden we were up by 12, then 13. It was because of our man-to-man defense.
That's the reason why we won the game there."
Next up for Goessel in the semifinals is the 25-1 Montezuma-South Gray, seeded No. 1 in the tournament.