By DAVID VANTRESS
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Two big back-to-back wins have coach Brian Bechtel and his Goshen Redskins feeling pretty good about themselves as the final few games of the 2012-13 regular season approach.
The Redskins closed out the NLC season on a winning note last Thursday night with a 66-27 win over Wawasee. That victory was a milestone for the Redskins, as it wrapped up a second consecutive winning conference record for Goshen at 4-3.
It also gave the Redskins a share of second place in the NLC. The Redskins share that spot with Plymouth and Elkhart Memorial.
And then on Saturday, the Redskins hosted a struggling East Noble squad that came to Goshen just 2-16. Goshen won that game convincingly also, vanquishing the Knights, 69-35.
Bechtel said his team was the better squad entering both contests. But being better on paper is pretty meaningless.
“You still have to go out and execute and hit your shots,” Bechtel said.
Both games, Bechtel said, provided a chance for the Redskins to get some quality playing time for younger players. And while that may not help that much in the upcoming sectional tournament, it will go a long way toward setting a foundation for next season.
“We’re going to be losing four seniors (Austin Henke, Sam Stegelmann, Cristian Barron and Jesse Good), so we will need some of these younger guys to step up,” Bechtel said.
The focus for the final few games of 2012-13 will be getting ready for the upcoming Class 4A Sectional tournament at NorthSide Gym in Elkhart.
The Redskins have a good chance to do that against a quality Class 2A opponent this week when they hit the road to face Westview. The Warriors are 17-1 after a 47-29 win over Wawasee Tuesday night. Westview’s lone blemish on the season is a 63-54 loss to NorthWood early in the season.
Bechtel said his team will have to be at the top of its game to beat the Warriors — especially on the road at the Warrior Dome, one of the toughest places to play in the area.
“It’s a great atmosphere for Indiana high school basketball,” Bechtel said.
“Our guys realize that, and we are going to have to try and match them bucket-for-bucket. We can’t afford to let them get out on any big runs to start the game.”
The series has been about as evenly matched as a series could be over the past 15 years: Goshen holds a slight 8-7 edge. The Redskins prevailed over the Warriors, 52-47 in Goshen last Feb. 17.