Swede boys suffer snowball effect of bad luck against Kearney Catholic.
LEXINGTON—Gothenburg’s boys took the floor before last week’s C1-11 sub-district game against Kearney Catholic feeling confident and prepared.
They left the gym miserably dejected after a 75-36 loss to end their season.
“There’s not a lot you can do when a team hits 6-of-7 from behind the three-point line in the first quarter,” said Gothenburg coach Kent Koehn. “And it’s not like they were uncontested shots. We got a hand in their face every time but it seemed like everything they threw up went in.”
Kearney Catholic’s success from the perimeter seemed to snowball in their favor.
“And for us, it was like running in quick sand,” Koehn said. “Nothing went right.”
Derek Franzen hit the first bucket of the game for the Swedes on Gothenburg’s first possession. That was the only time during the 32 minutes that the Swedes had an advantage.
Kearney Catholic made seven consecutive shot attempts that included five three-pointers to take a 19-6 lead five minutes into the first period.
The Stars ended the quarter leading 26-9.
“When we decided to try harder to defend the three-point shot, they’d take us off the dribble,” Koehn said. “We went into the game with a good feeling. We’ve played well against Kearney Catholic in the sub-district in the past. Then we got hit in the face in the first quarter and it’s pretty hard to bounce back.”
Gothenburg played with determination in the second quarter, believing the shooting streak couldn’t last for the Stars.
Kearney Catholic was 3-of-16 from the field in the second period and 5-of-7 from the line and still Gothenburg couldn’t make up any ground.
The Stars took a 38-18 lead into halftime.
“We got down by 17 with less than three minutes to play in the first half,” Koehn said. “When we cut it to 12 I thought we might be able to get down to single digits and be OK at halftime.”
But Kearney Catholic scored back-to-back buckets along with a pair of free throws and it was quickly out of reach again.
The Swedes’ point guard Landen Haake found himself in foul trouble early in the third period and Koehn said Gothenburg’s offense went from bad to worse.
“Kearney Catholic gets you playing so fast that you can’t even see if there’s an open guy and if you do happen to find someone you think is open, it’s like they’re baiting you.”
The Stars forced 30 Gothenburg turnovers.
“Even when they brought all their kids in off the bench in the last two and a half minutes of the game, they were hitting shots,” Koehn said. “And we had nine turnovers in that time.”
Gothenburg was 15-of-42 on field goal attempts for 36% when the team averaged closer to 40% on the season.
Haake, who averaged 15 points a game throughout the year, was held to just a single field goal.
Mark Hilderbrand led Gothenburg with 12 points. Korey Ahlenstorf had a team-high six rebounds.
Kearney Catholic’s Drew Butler led all scorers with 18 points, 11 of which came in the first half.
Gothenburg ends the year with a 7-12 record.
The Stars moved on to play Minden in the sub-district final on Thursday, falling 74-63.
Minden fell to Chadron Monday night 42-34 in the C1-6 district final.
“It’s a tough way to finish,” Koehn said of the loss to Kearney Catholic. “People ask if I’d rather get beat by 30 or on a buzzer-beater. I’d choose the buzzer-beater. At least that means you can say you were in the game.”