By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Two boys basketball teams fighting tooth-and-nail for every ball on every possession; a packed house; a close game.
Just another Friday night in the NLC, in other words.
On this particular Friday night in Nappanee, it was Goshen and NorthWood meeting up in an NLC contest at the Panther Pit. And it was the Redskins with a late run to escape one of the toughest places to play in the conference with a 54-46 win.
“That’s two big NLC wins we’ve gotten on the road this season,” Goshen coach Brian Bechtel said. “I was proud of our team tonight … We seem to bounce back well after losses.”
The Redskins fell to Mishawaka Marian at home Wednesday night.
With Friday night’s win, Goshen improved to 8-4 overall (3-1 NLC) NorthWood fell to 11-2 (3-1).
Neither team could find much of an early advantage in a first period that ended knotted at 15.
NorthWood pushed out to a quick 20-15 lead with the first five points of the second stanza, prompting Bechtel to call a quick timeout.
The brief break seemed to work, as the Panthers’ momentum was stunted. The teams settled into a back-and-forth volley that saw NorthWood lead 31-29 at intermission.
The third quarter belonged to Goshen, as the Redskins were able to muscle their way out to a 39-37 lead at the final stop. The Redskins went to a slowdown game, and the patience paid off as Jesse Good gave Goshen its biggest lead of the night at 42-37 with a 3-pointer at the 5:52 mark of the fourth quarter.
That ignited the Redskins’ final push, a 12-4 run that pushed Goshen out to a 10-point lead at 51-41.
Good led the Redskins with 15 points. Sam Stegelmann added 12.
Jonathan Wilkinson led the Panthers with 13 points. Zach Zurcher had 11 and Tommy Klem also added 11.
NorthWood coach Aaron Wolfe said Goshen deserved credit for a well-played game on the road.
“They made key plays when they had to,” Wolfe said. “We did not make the plays down the stretch.”
Earlier, the J.V. Redskins were a 43-30 winner in the J.V. contest. Jack Gingerich and Oliver Nafziger led Goshen with 11 points apiece. Travis Bear led the J.V Panthers with 15 points.
Goshen hosts Elkhart Memorial next Friday night.
NorthWood travels to Warsaw.