Third time isn’t charming for Gothenburg
Cozad ends Swedes season, 60-46.
In each of the three contest involving Gothenburg and Cozad this season the Haymakers used fourth-quarter runs to earn victories.
At the D1-11 subdistrict tournament Feb. 25 it was another chapter in the same book.This time Cozad’s Conor Young grabbed a rebound and bolted the length of the floor in the final six seconds of the third period. He scored for Cozad and gave the Haymakers momentum heading into the final quarter.
Gothenburg battled for a majority of the contest but Cozad’s athleticism and uptempo play wore the Swedes down and out in a 60-46 loss.
“Our kids competed and played hard,” head coach Roger Koehler said. “Cozad’s athleticism gave us problems.”
Gothenburg answered Cozad’s first-possession basket with a trey from the left wing by Ross Ostendorf.
Jacob Stallbaumer converted another layin giving the Haymakers an early 4-3 lead before the Swedes used an 8-4 run to go up 11-7.
Cozad answered with an eight-point run in the last 2:30 including a three-pointer by Young who then stole an inbounds pass and converted another layin, helping the Haymakers claim a 14-11 lead after the opening period.
“We knew they liked to do that and it killed us,” Koehler said. “We didn’t match up and Young hit an open three-pointer and then he stole the pass and scored again.”
The Swedes continued to trail by three points until Ostendorf connected on his second three-pointer of the half to tie the game at 18-18 with 4:40 remaining in the second frame.
After Nathan Graham used a scoop layin to give the Swedes a two-point edge, Haymaker guards Colin Wetovick and Jake Paulsen took the lead back, 23-21, on consecutive baskets with 1:25.
Both teams scored two more baskets and Cozad led 25-24 at intermission.
At the break, Koehler said he told Tanner Borchardt to look to score when he gets the ball inside.
Cozad was bringing an extra defender or two on a majority of Borchardt’s touches inside and he had to pass the ball out, he said.
Two players asserted themselves early and often in the third stanza—Young for the Haymakers and Borchardt for the Swedes.
The Cozad guard knocked down jumpshots and converted at the rim while Gothenburg’s giant made baby hooks in the opposite key.
Nearly each time Young and company scored Borchardt had answers as he collected 10 third-period points after only two first-half shot attempts.
Trailing 38-36, with 1:34 in the third quarter, a Wetovick jumper gave the Haymakers a four-point lead with 24 seconds.
A Borchardt miss was rebounded by Dawson Graham whose shot also fell off the mark.
The ball was snatched by Young who flew 80 feet to give Cozad a 42-36 lead and game-changing spark.
“Young is a heck of an athlete and has become a good player,” Koehler said.
The fourth quarter opened with a slashing basket by Dawson Graham but Young, again, answered with a basket to keep the Swedes at bay.
Borchardt and Dawson managed to keep the game close scoring in between Cozad baskets.
Battling a five-point deficit Blake Ristine elevated to knock down a jumpshot to pull within three points of the Haymakers, 49-46.
That would be Gothenburg’s final basket of the season.
Worn out and their physical gas tanks on empty the Swedes went scoreless the final three minutes of the fourth.
Meanwhile, Cozad made a living at the charity stripe shooting 7-9 in the final minutes to secure victory.
“Our guys got tired but I had to stay with players that could match up with their athleticism,” Koehler said.
Gothenburg was led by Borchardt who put in 18 points and snagged 14 rebounds.
Young, who countered Gothenburg’s offensive runs much of the night, scored 20 points for the Haymakers.
Koehler said after the game he told his players he was proud of their efforts and that they showed character.
“The message going into the game was to have no regrets,” he said. “The kids gave all their effort but we couldn’t overcome them.”