Nothing goes right for boys at Ainsworth
Poor shooting hampers Swedes.
AINSWORTH—Gothenburg’s boys knew they had to defend Ainsworth’s perimeter shooting Friday night.
So rather than playing their usual sagging help defense, the Swedes stuck closer to the three-point line.
Still, the Bulldogs savored their home-court advantage and stung the Swedes with their outside shots winning 66-44.
“We did everything in practice last week that Ainsworth did on the floor,” said Gothenburg coach Kent Koehn. “We knew they’d shoot the three and we knew they’d look inside to their big guy.”
Still the Swedes couldn’t stop the Bulldogs.
Three of Ainsworth’s first four buckets were three-pointers.
“I think maybe we’ve ingrained our style of defense so deeply that it isn’t easy for them to make changes,” Koehn said.
At the same time, Koehn said the Swedes were exposed on offense.
Senior scoring leader Landen Haake made the first seven points for the Swedes. He finished the game with seven.
“Ainsworth went to a box-and-one on Landen and we couldn’t get him the ball,” Koehn said. “You don’t prepare for a gimmick defense. Not many teams play them anymore but that’s what I would do against us.”
Down 35-17 at halftime, Koehn told his boys to shoot more.
Ainsworth made the first two buckets of the second half to push the gap to 22 points but with three minutes to play in the third quarter, Gothenburg had closed to single digits.
“Our defense picked up and we got some steals and some easy buckets,” Koehn said.
The run didn’t last, though, as Ainsworth closed out the third period with another three-pointer and a layup to take a 48-35 lead.
The Swedes got outscored 18-9 in the fourth quarter.
“It’s disheartening the way we played defense,” Koehn said. “We gave up 66 points. We haven’t given up 66 points all season.”
At the same time, the Swedes shot 15-of-71 for a 21% field goal percentage.
“We jacked the ball up 71 times and only made 15,” Koehn said. “That’s a terrible percentage.”
Joel Teahon finished with 11 points and Mark Hilderbrand added eight. Patrick Reeves was the rebounding leader with six.
Gothenburg has one game remaining in the regular season. The Swedes, now 7-10, host Ogallala (9-9) Friday night.
The C1-11 sub-district begins Monday in Lexington. Koehn said while brackets have not yet been released, it appears the Swedes will be the No. 3 seed and play No. 2-seeded Kearney Catholic in the late game Tuesday.
Cozad and Southern Valley will face off Monday for the chance to advance and play No. 1 Minden Tuesday.