ORIGINALLY WRITTEN STAFF
The Goessel girls advanced with sub-state play in Class 1A with a 45-39 win over Hutch Central Christian in the finals of the regional tournament hosted by Centre High School.
The lead changed hands several times in the third quarter, but Goessel took control in the fourth quarter and led by as many eight points.
Tara Goerzen scored 20 points to pace the Bluebirds.
To get to the finals, the Bluebirds defeated White City, 59-41, in the first round, then upset sixth-ranked Hope, 46-45 in the semifinals.
Against White City, Melinda Stucky scored 22 points, while Goerzen added 21 and Bethany Amstutz nine.
The Hope team had a significant height advantage over Goessel, but the Bluebirds stunned the Lions with a 15-4 first-quarter lead. The Bluebirds led 29-22 at halftime.
Hope took a short-lived lead with a 13-0 run to start the second half, but Goessel recovered and recaptured the lead with good ball control and free-throw shooting down the stretch.
The Bluebirds will open sub-state play at 6 p.m. Thursday against Colony Crest at Burlington.
Meanwhile, the Bluebird boys’ season ended with a 67-65 overtime loss to Centre in the first round of regional action.
Goessel took advantage of Cougar turnovers to lead 23-13 after one quarter. Centre rallied in the second quarter and trailed only by one point at halftime, 37-36. The margin was the same after the third quarter, 48-47.
Centre led by five in the fourth quarter, but Goessel battled back to tie the game at 61 at the end of regulation play.
In the extra period, Goessel hit two of four free throws and Centre hit three of eight, but two of those free throws came with five seconds to play.
Jeremy Voth scored 23 and Luke Lehrman 22 for Goessel while Centre had four players in double figures: Kyle Luna with 14, Grant Garrard with 13, Todd Stahlecker and Greg Klenda with 11 and Justin Makovec with 10.
Centre boys’ season ended with a semifinal loss to White City.
The Centre girls opened the tournament with a 46-41 win over Burrton. The Cougars led 9-6 after one quarter but trailed 22-18 at the half. But the Cougars, getting seven points from Stephanie Hajek, outscored the Chargers 15-7 in the third quarter to reclaim the lead.
Renee Ecklund led the Cougars with 15 points and Alisha Loveless added 10.
The Cougars saw their season end in the semifinals, falling to Hutch Central Christian, 48-45.
The Cougars led 11-8 after one quarter and 24-19 at halftime. Central Christian picked up their attack in the second half to climb with a point after three quarters, 34-32, then regained the lead in the final frame by outscoring the Cougars 15-10.
Once again, Ecklund led her team with 15 points. Loveless added 14.