By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
SOUTH BEND —
It was not a good night for the NLC as both the Goshen Redskins and the Northridge Raiders ran into bigger, stronger and more physical teams in the NIC-NLC high school boys basketball shootout Saturday at South Bend St. Joseph.
The Penn Kingsmen blew open a close game with a 27-6 run in the second period on the way to a 78-34 win over the Redskins. Goshen trailed 16-15 with 7:31 left before halftime following a layup by 5-11 senior Jesse Good. The Kingsmen scored the next 10 points and went to take a 43-21 lead at intermission.
“We are going to struggle against the teams that have the physical size and strength Penn does,” Goshen coach Brian Bechtel said. “We don’t have a lot of size so there is not much room for error.”
Northridge played a good third period and had a 44-35 lead entering the fourth only to have the South Bend St. Joseph Indians go on a 13-0 run and on to a 53-50 triumph.
“A team with size is always going to bother us,” Northridge coach Ronnie Thomas said. “We don’t have a lot of size. There is where the toughness is going to have to come in. The fight is something that can be hard to teach kids, but the end lesson is this is not acceptable.”
Goshen (6-2) hosts Concord in an NLC matchup on Friday.
“This should be a good game to get us ready for Concord,” Bechtel said. “Concord is the same type of team Penn is. It’s hard to call this a tune up for Concord, but we do have a week to prepare for the Minutemen.”
Northridge (3-5) plays Columbia City around 4:45 p.m. on News Year’s Day as part of the Super Hoops Classic at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne.
“We only have one day to get ready for Columbia City, which is probably the best team we have played so far,” Thomas said.
Penn not only has the size and strength, the Kingsmen have some quality shooters as well. Penn was 9-of-12 from the field (5-of-5 from 3-point range) in the second period and 6-of-10 shooting in the third as the lead ballooned to 56-29 after three quarters.
“Goshen competed but in the end we just had too much inside play,” Penn coach Al Rhodes said. “We have some sophomores that are pretty good shooters. Ryan Lutz (4-of-6 shooting) had one of his best games.”
Penn’s ball-hawking defense forced the Redskins into 16 turnovers.
“We have been averaging about seven or eight turnovers per game so 16 pretty much tells the story. Their defensive pressure disrupted us the whole game,” Bechtel said. “We handled Penn’s half-court trap. We had problems when Penn extended the pressure to full court.”
Rhodes was pleased with his team’s defensive effort.
“Goshen is a very good half-court team,” Rhodes said. “We extended our pressure to full court and that disrupted their offense.
Penn got in some early foul trouble. At one point the Kingsmen had six personals while the Redskins had yet to commit an infraction.
“The early fouls actually turned out to a blessing as we had to go with four guards and that opened things up on the outside for us,” Rhodes said.
The Redskins got into some foul problems of their own trying to handle Penn’s size around the basket that includes 6-7 senior Austin Torres. The University of Notre Dame recruit had team highs of 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Goshen’s biggest player — 6-5 senior Sam Stegelmann — picked up his third foul at 5:35 of the third quarter before fouling out with 6:01 left in the contest.
“It’s hard to get anything around the basket with the size Torres has,” Bechtel said. “They were able to keep him around the basket. He also makes rebounding difficult.
“Penn is not only physical they are highly skilled. Even if we had Sam with no fouls I’m not sure it would have made a difference.”
Stegelmann scored 13 points to lead the Redskins. Six-five sophomore Austin Woolett added nine, Good four, 6-2 junior Alex Hartsough and 5-9 freshman Brady Bechtel both three and 5-9 senior Austin Henke two.
Woolett had seven rebounds and Hartsough six, but the Kingsmen had a 36-23 advantage on the boards.
Six-one senior Connor Edwards took control for St. Joseph in the fourth period, scoring 11 of his team-high 17 points.
“The Indians made the adjustments and we played not to lose,” Thomas said. “We couldn’t get the stops we needed on defense and we couldn’t keep them off the offensive glass.
“They also went to a 1-3-1 defense and we fell in love with one side of the floor. We didn’t take the ball to the middle.”
The Indians tied the score at 44-44 with 5:51 to go on a three-point play by Edmonds. The Raiders fought back and tied the score 48-48 on a basket by 6-7 junior Nate Ritchie at 5:01 and one by 6-1 senior Arick Doberenz at 3:29.
St. Joseph went back up 50-48 on a basket by 6-6 junior Matthew Monserez at 2:14 only to have Northridge knot the score 50-50 on a layin by 6-1 senior Austin Moniot. The Indians iced the game at the free-throw line as 6-4 junior Ryan Wobbe made one freebie at :42 and 5-10 sophomore Greenan Sullivan two at .33. The Raiders attempted to tie the score, but several tries from behind the arc were off target in the closing seconds.
Ritchie poured in a game-high 31 points and at one time had scored 26 of his team’s 33 points.
“There were times we felt Nate was our offense,” Thomas said. “We passed up some open shots to pass the ball to him.”
Ritchie was the lone Raider in double figures. Six-one senior Joey Ganyard and 6-0 junior Sam Ahonen were next with five points apiece.
The Indians had three other players in double figures besides Edmonds. Monserez chipped in with 13 points, Wobbe 11 and 6-4 junior Keaton Wieschhaus 10.