GOSHEN — In a contest no one would surrender, NorthWood prevailed - barely.
The Panthers made the clutch plays in overtime Friday night to pull out 53-48 Northern Lakes Conference high school boys basketball decision over the upset-minded Goshen Redskins.
Senior Jonathan Wilkinson drove the middle to score for a 48-46 Panther lead with 2:34 to go in overtime. Later, after Goshen junior Austin Woolett scored to tie it, Wilkinson hit two free throws to put NorthWood ahead to stay with 1:27 remaining.
Wilkinson, scorless in the third and fourth periods, said, “Our motto all season has been being relentless. We face adversity and go after it. We got down in this game and found a way to fight back.”
It was a gallant effort by a Goshen team which was 6-for-8 from 3-point range and had just one turnover in the first half, yet led only 28-26 as NorthWood dominated the rebounding, 16-4.
GHS coach Brian Bechtel said, “We just needed to execute better in the overtime. We had two turnovers and missed a free-throw blockout. NorthWood turned the tide with its pressure and then hit its free throws.”
Senior Zach Zurcher led NorthWood with 23 points, Wilkinson tallied 13 and senior Will Stueve 12. Wilkinson had nine rebounds and Zurcher seven and sophomore Braxton Linville eight assists.
“Goshen played a spirited basketball game and shot it extremely well,” said NW coach Aaron Wolfe. “We fought hard to stay alive in the fourth quarter and are fortunate to come away with a victory.
“NLC games often go down to that last possession and I told our kids they just had to keep grinding it out. Goshen’s offense was devastating in the first half and I thought both teams played better defense in the second half.”
A surprise for Goshen was the play of 5-11 sophomore Cam Kline who had spectators checking their programs after he hit four 3-pointers in the first half to stun the Panthers.
“Cam has been battling ankle and groin injuries all season,” said Bechtel. “He brings a lot of confidence to our team as a good athlete and is working his way into the rotation.”
Because he played two quarters in the junior varsity game, Kline had just three left for varsity and did not score in the second half.
Senior Deric Haynes netted 14 points for the Redskins, both Kline and Woolett 12. Woolett had six rebounds and senior Alex Haney five, junior Jack Gingerich four assists and two steals.
It was Gingerich who sent the game into overtime by driving into the left side of the basket and scoring with :01.6 left in regulation.
“I feel better about our team, but we never feel good after a loss,” said Bechtel. “I think our peak downfall was at Concord and now the guys are playing with no fear. Everyone is stepping up.”
With Kline hitting three consecutive ‘3s’ wrapped around the first quarter break, Goshen assumed its biggest lead at 17-7 with 7:41 to go in the second.
In an amazing display of shooting, the rivals combined for seven consecutive 3-pointers in the second stanza.
NorthWood tied it on a rebound bucket by Stueve to start the third period and took the lead on a Zurcher free throw with 1:25 to go in the period.
Zurcher’s three-point play off an inbounds pass put the Panthers up 46-43 with 0:57 left in regulation. Senior Alex Hartsough hit a free throw for Goshen before Gingerich scored the tying goal.
“I thought we had it under control, but Gingerich made a fantastic play,” said Wolfe. “Wilkinson, in addition to his scoring, did a great defensive job on Haynes in the second half.”
NorthWood’s JV improved to 11-1 with a 39-28 win as Dakyrion Fox scored 12 points, David Eshelman eight and Vincent Miranda six. Kline netted 11, Rummel Johnson six and James Paetkau five for 5-7 Goshen.
NorthWood 53, Goshen 48
NORTHWOOD — Braxton Linville 0-2 0-1 0, Zach Zurcher 9-17 4-5 23, Tanner Farmwald 2-4 0-0 5, Jonathan Wilkinson 4-10 3-4 13, Will Stueve 4-9 4-8 12, Kyle McCoy 0, Dakyrion Fox 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 19-44 11-18 53
GOSHEN — Alex Haney 1-5 1-2 3, Jack Gingerich 2-6 0-2 4, Deric Haynes 5-15 1-1 14, Alex Hartsough 0-0 3-4 3, Austin Woolett 4-10 4-6 12, Trevor Weldy 0, D.J. Ambrose 0, Cam Kline 4-4 0-0 12, Isaac Huerta 0. Totals: 16-40 9-15 48
NorthWood 7 19 7 13 7 — 53
Goshen 14 14 10 8 2 — 48
3-point shooting: NorthWood 4-14 (Wilkinson 2-7, Zurcher 1-2, Farmwald 1-3, Linville 0-2), Goshen 7-15 (Kline 4-4, Haynes 3-10, Gingerich 0-1)
Rebounds: NorthWood 35 (Wilkinson 9, Zurcher 7), Goshen 19 (Woolett 6, Haney 5)
Fouls (fouled out): Goshen 17 (Haney), NorthWood 12.
Turnovers: Goshen 8, NorthWood 9.
Assists: (NW) Linville 8, Zurcher 2. (GHS) Gingerich 4, Haynes 2, Hartsough 2.
Steals: (NW) Zurcher, Farmwald, Wilkinson. (GHS) Gingerich 2, Woolett, Weldy, Huerta.
Officials: Zachary Sliwa, Sean Treece, Jeff Ward.