Swede boys fall short in final
Hershey eliminates Gothenburg 59-44
LEXINGTON—Riding the momentum of a successful year, the Gothenburg boys basketball team had high expectations and even higher hopes for post-season play.
Checking in uniforms this week certainly was not in the plan.After handily defeating Chase County 41-25 in the first round of the C1-11 sub-district at Lexington last week, the Swedes were confident and optimistic facing Hershey in the finals.
But after a solid start against the Panthers, Gothenburg’s offense struggled.
Hershey took advantage of key opportunities to end the Swedes’ season with a 59-44 loss.
“That’s not the way we wanted it to end,” said coach Roger Koehler. “Still, it was a good season.”
The Swedes finish with a 16-8 record, the best since the 2005-06 season when Gothenburg made its last appearance at the boys state tournament.
Swedes handle Longhorns
It took almost two minutes for either team to get on the board in the first round of the C1-11 sub-district on Feb. 21.
After three attempts by Chase County and two by Gothenburg, Korey Ahlenstorf finally earned points in the paint to get the Swedes going.
It didn’t take long to gain complete control.
“We knew we were going to have to play well to have success,” Koehler said. “Chase County had been on a roll.”
But that roll came to a screeching halt in the second quarter as the Swedes went from a 12-9 lead at the end of the first period to 19-9 with four minutes until halftime.
“I was extremely pleased with our defense the whole game,” Koehler said.
Chase County had averaged 42 points a game prior to meeting Gothenburg in the sub-district.
“To hold any high school boys team to 25 points is an accomplishment,” the coach said.
At the same time, Gothenburg found a rhythm in its offense that produced balanced scoring.
After holding the Longhorns to five points in the second quarter, Gothenburg had a 26-14 lead at halftime, paced by eight points from Brett Dockweiler.
“We did a good job of spreading the ball around,” Koehler said. “It was one of those nights when we were passing well.”
Offensive production fell to nearly nothing in the third quarter as each team scored only two points.
Gothenburg’s Alix Meisinger hit a short jumper a minute into the period and the Swedes were 0-for-5 the rest of the quarter.
Chase County’s only bucket came with a minute left.
“In most games, only scoring two points in a quarter would have worried me,” Koehler said. “This time it worked out.”
Ahlenstorf was the high scorer for Gothenburg with 10 points. He added 11 rebounds for the double-double along with three assists and one steal.
Dockweiler and Logan Koehler finished with eight points each.
Gothenburg goes cold
The first quarter was a barn-burner against Hershey in the sub-district final Thursday night.
Back-and-forth scoring left fans anticipating a nail-biter as Gothenburg led 15-13 at the end of one period.
“Brett (Dockweiler) hit a pair of three pointers and Logan (Koehler) had four points to give us a spark,” the coach said of the Swedes’ first-period scoring. “We had good flow and we were playing well.”
Then something happened in the second quarter but Koehler couldn’t put his finger on exactly what that was.
Hershey continued to rack up points but Gothenburg went cold scoring only three free throws in the period.
“We had a few extra turnovers in the second quarter and we couldn’t get our shots to fall,” he said.
The Swedes also didn’t defend Hershey’s high pick-and-roll plays the same in the second period, allowing them to sink some key three-point shots.
“We started getting frustrated and didn’t do a very good job of taking care,” Koehler said. “And we just couldn’t hit a shot. You can’t go a whole quarter with only three points against a quality team like Hershey and expect to win.”
After trailing 32-18 at halftime, Gothenburg had a better third period. The Swedes out-scored the Panthers 19-14, cutting the lead to eight points midway through.
Then Panther senior Jimmy Moore hit a pair of three-pointers to put the game out of reach again.
The Swedes had only seven points in the fourth period while the Panthers added to their score, mostly at the free throw line.
Dockweiler finished with 20 points including four three-pointers to lead Gothenburg. Logan Koehler chipped in eight points and seven rebounds.
Three Hershey seniors scored in double figures. Jordan Hiatt had 19 points followed by Moore with 17 and Bryson Hellmuth with 14.
Hershey (16-5) advanced to face Kimball (20-4) in the C1-6 district final Monday night.
The Panthers defeated the Longhorns 57-37 to earn their first trip to the Class C-1 state tournament since finishing runner-up at state in 1994.