Swede boys squeak out 39-36 win after watching lead wither
After the Swede boys jumped out to a 16-7 lead in the opening period against Centura Saturday evening, they were forced to weather a storm they weren’t expecting.
The Centurians worked their way back into the game by forcing Gothenburg into a slower tempo and capitalizing on Swede mistakes until it was just a one-point difference with 35 seconds to play.
The Swedes hung on tight, though, and pulled out a 39-36 victory to move to 4-7 on the season.
“Centura did a good job of coming out in the second quarter and playing a more aggressive defense,” said Swede coach Roger Koehler. “They slowed our game down and we started making some poor decisions.”
Centura managed a 10-0 run to start the second quarter and take a 17-16 lead with about six minutes to play until the half.
“We got into a cycle where we would make one pass and settle for an 18-foot jump shot,” Koehler said. “We just didn’t have good flow.”
Gothenburg regained the lead with three minutes to play in the second quarter and went into the locker room with a slim 23-20 advantage.
“We were trying to dribble down and shoot,” Koehler said. “They had us in a half-court trap and I think the kids got a little flustered. We didn’t seem to have too much trouble with it in the second half.”
The Swedes maintained their lead throughout the third period, despite going almost two minutes without a bucket toward the end.
Gothenburg only scored seven points in the fourth quarter and was 2-of-7 from the line in the frame.
“We’ve got some kids who are shooting free throws really well and others who aren’t doing so good,” the coach said. “Overall, our free throw percentage has dropped lately.”
The Swedes made 45% of their free throw attempts in the game and are at 59% on the season.
Junior guard Blake Ristine was the scoring leader for the Swedes with 15 points.
Logan Koehler picked up 14 points and 10 rebounds to help the cause.
The Swedes have two games remaining in a stretch of five games in eight days.
The coach said that forces kids to step up and meet the challenge.
Gothenburg will travel to Cozad on Thursday to take on the 6-3 Haymakers.
“They are a super athletic team and they can be streak shooters,” Koehler said. “They’ll try to run us all the time so we’re going to have to take good shots and not let their pace dictate our game.”
Then the Swedes host Chase County (5-4) on Friday, a team that defeated Gothenburg by four points in the holiday tournament at Sidney.
“I look for a battle against Chase County,” Koehler said. “It should be a good game.”