But the tables turned in the third quarter, as Goessel’s eight-point lead evaporated by Seth Pargman’s nine third-quarter points and Jordan Pargman’s eight as Olpe outscored Goessel 21-11.
Olpe scored in runs of 7-2 to start the quarter, followed by 6-2 and ending with 8-3.
Jordan Pargman tied the game at 1:53 with a trey, and he also put Olpe in the lead with 40 seconds to go with a layup driving down the lane splitting Goessel’s defense.
Goessel’s Travis Buller kept the game close with a 3-pointer of his own.
The Bluebirds responded in the fourth quarter with two free throws and a beautiful Nathan Amstutz fast-break layup from a Brett Goerzen bounce pass to take the lead 42-40 at the 4:55 mark.
Amstutz again scored in the lane, as well as Garrett Hiebert, to stretch the lead to five, 46-41 with 4:00 to go.
After Seth Pargman sat the bench with his fourth foul, he returned and took control with seven more points. A costly Olpe steal at 2:04 and layup by Pargman tied the game at 48-48. On the layup he crashed into defender Jordan Voth for a no-call.
In a bizarre twist, Olpe first got another costly steal at 1:18 and called time out. As Olpe in-bounded the ball in the corner of the court to guard Colton Stueve nearly out of his reach, he called a timeout in mid-air, which the referee granted.
An appeal by Goessel coach Justin Coup that rules had changed to no longer allow such mid-air timeouts was denied as officials explained that Stueve called time out before he was airborne.
Coup disagreed, but said, “It was a judgment call—what are you going to do?”
The near turnover could have given Goessel another chance at a score.
A quick score by Pargman and a daring drive slashing down the lane by Brett Goerzen left the game in a 50-50 tie with 14 seconds left.
Olpe called one last timeout with 8.8 seconds on the clock. An Olpe shot bounced around, slipped out of Goessel hands, and Seth Pargman got a hand on it to tip the ball home just as time ran out with 52-50 Olpe win.
Scoring leaders for the Bluebirds were Buller with 12 points and Hiebert with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Seth Pargman ended with 20 points, Jordan Pargman 11 and Drew Pettijohn 10.
“I thought the kids competed real well,” Coup said. “Third quarter really hurt us. We didn’t do a good job on the glass in the third quarter, and that was the difference.
“The Pargman kid was unbelievable tonight in the third quarter. He came out with some energy, and that was the difference.”
Looking back on the season, Coup said, “I’ve never been around a group of guys that has competed so hard in my nine years at Goessel. They gave a maximum amount of effort. All of them reached their potential, I thought.
You don’t usually get six seniors to reach their potential, but I thought our guys did this year. Those seniors, man, they’re so tight in (the locker room)—no jealousies. They’re very unselfish, a group that you just love to be around, they’ll do anything you ask them to do.
“They’re going to be missed in their work ethic and their habits.”
As for next year?
“You know, this experience is going to help us,” Coup said. “Even the guys that didn’t get into the game, just the atmosphere of being here in Hays, you know, the JV was 19-0 this year, so we’ve got some talent coming up. “
Montezuma-South Gray won the 1A title, defeating Centralia in the finals.
Goessel ended the year 23-5. It was Goessel’s fourth appearance in the state final four.
South Gray 56, Goessel 48
Class 1A semifinals
Goessel came up short in the semifinals Friday against the No. 1 seeded Montezuma-South Gray Rebels.
The Bluebirds were facing a 25-1 South Gray team whose only loss was to Class 6A Dodge City, but had wins over 6A schools 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 65, Wallace County 54
Class 1A quarterfinals
Goessel used its man defense and balanced scoring to capture a first-round over the Sharon Springs-Wallace County Wildcats Thursday.
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.”