By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Sometimes, when a basketball team digs itself an early hole, it’s just not going to be able to fight its way out of it.
That was the situation the Goshen boys basketball team found itself in Friday night as the Redskins fell to Elkhart Memorial, 56-51 in an NLC contest.
For Memorial coach Mark Barnhizer, it was a quality win for a team that has been struggling of late: The Chargers had lost six of their last seven coming into Friday night’s contest.
“Our perimeter guys were on tonight,” Barnhizer said.
That would include senior Markese McGuire, who led the way for the Chargers with 21 points, including three 3-pointers. The Chargers also got 14 points from Freddie Rhodes and 13 from James Hershberger.
In this one, it was Memorial (6-8 overall, 2-3 NLC) coming out of the gate with more energy early. The Chargers harassed the Redskins (8-5, 3-2) into several costly early turnovers and led 15-8 at the first stop.
The Redskins seemed to have trouble getting their offense in gear as Memorial pushed out to a 22-8 lead early in the second. With just under two minutes left until halftime., Memorial led 24-11. But the Redskins closed the half strongly with a 7-0 run, punctuated by a Brady Bechtel drive to the rack and layup as the buzzer sounded.
That put the Redskins within six points — striking distance of the Chargers— after a decidedly subpar first half.
But the Chargers seemed to always have an answer for a Goshen run in the second half. Goshen cut the Memorial lead to four at 27-23 late in the third — but back-to-back 3-pointers by the Chargers’ Markese McGuire pushed Memorial back out to a double-digit lead at 35-25.
The Chargers were able to hold off the Redskins down the stretch.
Goshen coach Brian Bechtel said his team did not get out to a good start and that made the difference.
“A very poor start for us,” Bechtel said. “Memorial has been a team that has been looking for wins, and they seemed like they wanted it more. We need to be that team.”
The Redskins were led by Austin Henke with 14 points. Alex Hartsough added 13 and Sam Stegelmann chipped in with 10.
Goshen travels to Mishawaka on Tuesday night. Memorial is on the road at South Bend Riley, also on Tuesday.
Memorial 71, Goshen 57
In the earlier girls game, Memorial used a big second-quarter push to build a big lead and hold off several Goshen rallies
The Chargers jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead, but Goshen battled back with an 8-2 run for a 10-9 advantage.
But the Chargers closed the opening stanza with an 11-2 spurt and led 20-12 at the first stop.
The Chargers extended their lead to 39-21 at intermission after opening the second quarter on an 11-4 run, using ballhawking defense to force a number of Goshen turnovers.
The Redskins opened the third with a quick 5-0 burst, cutting the Memorial lead to 39-26.
But the Chargers weathered the early Goshen push and were soon back out to an 18-point advantage.
Goshen put together another run to cut the Memorial advantage to 46-36 with 2:33 left in the third, but again the Chargers had an answer.
Memorial coach Steve Scott was pleased to see his team have a bit of an offensive breakout to go with the good defense the Chargers have been playing lately.
The Chargers lost to Northridge, 36-27 on Jan. 18 and fell to Warsaw, 39-32 Jan 22.
“Hopefully that’s the kind offensive production we will see as we move forward into the tournament,” Scott said.
Goshen was led by Aimee Swihart with 19 points, Kayci Troyer added 17 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double, and Deja Felder just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Redskins close out the 2012-13 regular season next Thursday night at home against Plymouth.
Tipoff is slated for 7:45 p.m. Memorial closes its regular season Wednesday night with a home contest against Penn.