Written by Brian Stucky Friday, 09 March 2007 18:00Bluebirds will play for third place on Saturday after losing to South Gray, 56-48 The Goessel boys' basketball team came up short in the semifinals at the Class 1A State Tournament to the No. 1 seeded Montezuma-South Gray Rebels Friday by a score of 56-48 at Gross Memorial Coliseum at Fort Hays State University.
Goessel was facing a 25-1 South Gray team whose only loss was to 6A Dodge City, but had wins over Derby and Wichita South and claimed third place in the competitive Dodge City Tournament of Champions in January.
Goessel's team height matched up well with South Gray, but the Bluebirds struggled to get into a flow most of the game.
Goessel led by three points at 3:29 in the first quarter, but the tight first quarter ended with Goessel leading only 6-5.
South Gray built a 10-point lead with a 14-3 run in the second quarter before going into halftime with an 18-12 lead.
As the pace picked up, Goessel outscored South Gray in the third quarter 19-15 to come within one point at 38-37 at the final break.
But South Gray put the clamps on Goessel's inside game, denying shot after shot. South Gray won the battle of the fourth quarter 18-11. They pulled away toward the end.
Jordan Voth scored 15 points for Goessel and Garrett Hiebert 14. South Gray's 6-foot, 5-inch center Eli Applegate dominated the middle with 24 points, followed by Sean Jantz and Brandon Koehn with 10 each.
South Gray made 21 of 47 fields-goal attempts (44 percent), compared to Goessel's 17 for 46 (37 percent). Both teams played strong defense, which altered the other team's offense.
South Gray also won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding Goessel 38 to 24, which helped them to 17 second-chance points.
Goessel's 3-point shooters were often covered, resulting in only four baskets in 17 attempts from the arc.
Bluebird coach Justin Coup said, "We weren't perfect, but we battled the whole time. We were never out of it. We cut (the lead) to one. We had to get over the hump, and just didn't. We gave it away with missed opportunities. But we had chances. We shot the ball, it just didn't go in.
"It may not have looked like it, but I thought we played well defensively," he added. "We gave up way too many offensive rebounds, but we held their leading scorer to 10 points, and he averages 20 points a game.
"Applegate couldn't miss. He was 'in the zone.' I thought he might have trouble shooting over our height, but he seemed to handle it fine."
Goessel will face Olpe for the second time this season in the third-place game on Saturday.