Boys bounce back to beat Longhorns
After a pair of tough losses in a long eight days of five basketball games, the Swedes knew they would have to pull together to avenge a holiday tournament defeat by Chase County on Friday night.
“I was a little worried going in as to what our psyche might be,” said Gothenburg boys basketball coach Roger Koehler. “It ended up being one of our best games as a team so far.”
Gothenburg worked as a unit, the coach said, passing well and defending with backside help to defeat the Longhorns 53-37.
“When you look at the stats it might seem like a two-man show,” the coach said, “but it certainly was not.”
Swede big men Logan Koehler and Tanner Borchardt dominated Chase County with their size to score 26 and 18 points, respectively, and pull down double-digit rebounds as well.
But the coach said neither could have found such success without the result of the rest of their teammates doing their jobs.
“Their points came because of the play of others,” Koehler said. “We were finding the open man, working for the best shot selection on our end of the court and, at the same time, contesting shots and playing the best backside help defense we’ve played all year.”
Gothenburg and Chase County were relatively even through the first half as the teams were tied 10-10 at the end of one quarter and the Swedes led 24-21 at halftime.
It was in the third period that the Swedes began to pull away. Mostly, Koehler said, it was tough defense that held the Longhorns to only three points in the frame.
“It takes everybody knowing their role and doing their job to make it work,” the coach said. “That’s what we’ve been working toward.”
Even when Gothenburg was up by 12 points midway through the fourth quarter, the Swedes continued to keep the throttle open.
One example was a contested dunk by Logan Koehler, who received a pass near the volleyball spike line and curled around into the lane, hammering home the slam.
“I thought he was just going to have a contested layup,” the coach said. “I didn’t expect him to hammer it down in traffic.”
The dunk put an exclamation points on the night.
Gothenburg held Chase County to 24% shooting from the field. The Longhorns’ 37 points included 12 from behind the three-point line.
The Swedes rebounded well, too, pulling down 29 defensive rebounds.
Borchardt had 13 boards while Logan Koehler grabbed 10.
“We were able to keep the big bodies in the paint to rebound because everybody else was doing a good job of boxing out,” the coach said.
With the win, Gothenburg moves to 5-9 on the season as the Swedes travel to Broken Bow (4-9) on Friday.
The Indians are scrappy, Koehler said, and will likely full-court press but they won’t be able to match up with Gothenburg’s size.
“I think if we handle their pressure and match it defensively, we should be all right,” Koehler said.
Tipoff at Broken Bow is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.