Led by Kendall Voth and Craig Banman, and with a multitude of others contributing at key moments throughout the game, the Goessel High School boys basketball team took down the Northern Heights Wildcats 57-53 Friday night in Goessel.
It looked like a rout toward the end of the first half, when Voth leaked out of the halfcourt set play to receive a baseball-style inbounds pass that covered the length of the court. Voth scored the layup uncontested, and the Bluebirds led 29-15. Roman Murray knocked down a 3-pointer for Heights on the next possession, and the visitors closed the gap to seven, 29-22. But Goessel's defense sparked an end-of-half rally. Weston Hiebert took a charge from Nick Tabares to keep the Wildcats from further narrowing the gap on the next possession, and Goessel's offense turned to Hiebert at the other end of the floor to draw a foul on Derrek Swanson with 1:05 to go in the second quarter.
Banman drew a whistle against Roman Murray on the next trip, and knocked down both foul shots to break the Heights run. Then Voth came up with a steal-and-score layup to end the half at 33-22.
Coming out of the intermission break, it was Heights' turn. With four starters with multiple fouls, the Wildcats dialed up the aggressiveness of their press defense, and put together a 9-0 run that spanned only 120 seconds of clock time.
Coming out of a GHS timeout, Travis Fensky buried a right wing 3-pointer, and drew Murray's third personal on the next possession. Goessel pounded it inside again on the next trip, and Voth drew Teeino Tabares' third at 3:32 of the third quarter. Heights' foul problems worsened significantly on the next Bluebirds possession, as Hiebert baited Swanson into his fourth, and knocked down both foul shots in lieu of finishing off his baseline drive.
Chad Wedel scored a 3-pointer for a 47-35 GHS lead, and Teeino Tabares was saddled with his fourth personal with 15 seconds to go in the period.
But Heights rallied again in the fourth quarter, and Murray had the hot hand, with 8 of his 22 during the final frame. Heights pulled within 49-43, prompting a timeout at 4:52, and closed to 51-48 on a 3-ball by Nick Tabares a moment later.
Hiebert struck again, taking a charge to foul out Swanson with 3:17 to go, but Heights closed to 51-50 on a layup by Nick Tabares, who gave Heights its first lead of the night with a triple from the top of the arc with 2:38 left.
Goessel tied it at 53-53 with a Niko Herman free throw, and took a 55-53 lead on a tough layup by Aaron Reimer, who was clubbed underneath the basket on the play and had to be carried off during an injury timeout at 1:24.
The Bluebirds very nearly fumbled their lead in the final minute, missing two layups and six free throws, but closed out the contest with strict defense.
Murray's 22 led all scorers, and Nick Tabares finished with 11 points. Voth led Goessel with 17 points and Banman had 14 to go with six assists. Hiebert had 8 rebounds and 8 steals, two charges taken, two assists and four points.
Heights had its way on the girls side, winning 43-31 while holding Goessel to no points during the first 6:46 of the fourth quarter. Goessel trailed 5-0 out of the gate, but pulled within 9-7 late in the first quarter.
Heights opened up an 18-12 lead during the second quarter, and Goessel rallied to cut it to 22-18 on back-to-back-to-back baskets by Karina Harvey, Karis Janzen and Kendra Flaming.
But Heights put together a 12-4 run heading into the fourth quarter?a run that would have been 12-2 if not for a left wing buzzer-beater by Flaming as the third quarter ended?and did not allow a Goessel basket until 1:14 remained.
Flaming knocked down a 15-footer and a 3-pointer during the final minute of the contest, and led the Bluebirds with 19 points.