Goshen was able to survive a late comeback from Bethel-Tate on Friday, Dec. 16 to squeak out a three-point win, their third of the season, 53-50.
The Warriors opened up the game trying to get big man Marc Taylor involved early. Goshen ran multiple set plays with an entry pass coming from the top of the key to Taylor who had sealed off his defender, giving him easy looks at the basket.
“The last two games, Marc has been great at the beginning,” Goshen head coach Scott Wake said after the game. “He’s finishing shots, which is something we have been working on with him.
“He always works hard for position, and now he’s knocking down the shots. It’s good to see him have a little bit of success.”
Bethel-Tate started out a little slow on the offensive end, settling for some outside jump shots and only scoring six points in the first quarter.
After one, Goshen led the visiting Tigers 9-6.
Goshen switched up their defense in the second quarter, leaving their man-to-man in favor of a one-three-one zone.
“It helps when we have Kyle [Wake] up there,” Coach Wake said. “He gets some deflections, he gets his hands on things, he’s long. When we’re doing it right, it works pretty effectively.”
Although the zone yielded a lot of deflections and kicked passes, the Tigers were able to utilize some skip passes to get open looks from the perimeter, tying the game at 18 a piece with a minute left in the first half following a Jason Adams three-pointer. The score would remain 18-18 when the buzzer sounded.
The Tigers’ balanced offensive attack saw seven players score in the first half, but no one scored more than three points. Goshen, on the other hand, leaned on Taylor and senior forward Austin Fischer for the majority of their points.
Both coaches made halftime adjustments, most notably being the advent of full-court pressure following made baskets.
“We did okay, I’d like us to be a little smoother and be able to attack more out of it,” Wake said of his press break. “We’re doing much better than we were a month ago.”
While the Warriors did an acceptable job breaking the Bethel pressure, the Tigers were able to hit some open shots and following Russell Hartley’s three-pointer, Bethel took their first lead of the game at 30-29 with three minutes left in the third quarter.
The Warriors did get some easy baskets in transition after breaking Bethel’s press, however, going on a mini-run towards the end of the third quarter. Goshen scored on four-straight field goals, capped off by Nick Messer’s and-one to give the Warriors a 37-30 lead heading into the final frame.
Facing their largest deficit, Bethel didn’t stop attacking. The teams traded baskets to start the fourth quarter, but that wouldn’t be enough if the Tigers had thoughts of winning.
With four minutes left in the game, senior Matt Small hit a three to get the Tigers within four points, 41-37. The Warriors answered Small’s three with a pair of jump shots from Fischer and Kyle Wake to put the lead back up to eight.
But Bethel kept on fighting.
“They worked hard,” Wake said, “[Bethel coach Craig Stork] doesn’t play a lot of guys, but the guys they got keep playing hard.”
Goshen was up seven with 45.4 seconds left, but the Warriors touch from the foul line seemed to elude them.
The Warriors turned the ball over on an inbounds play and fouled Small with 26 seconds remaining. The senior knocked down both foul shots to cut the lead to four.
Needing to foul, the Tigers sent junior guard Ryan Ashcraft to the line. Ashcraft hit one of two foul shots to put the Goshen lead back to five.
The Tigers answered right back with Small making a driving layup to cut the Warriors lead to three, 53-50 with 5.7 seconds left.
Goshen got the ball into Wake who was fouled immediately. In the double bonus, Wake only needed to make one of two to realistically ice the game for the Warriors. He missed both and a tie up on the rebound gave the possession to Bethel, down three with three seconds on the clock.
Bethel called a timeout and drew up a play, but with Goshen not allowing anyone behind them, the Tigers had to settle for Tyler Atkins shooting a half-court shot as the buzzer sounded. His shot hit off of the front of the rim and the Warriors escaped with the win.
Bethel’s Small took game-high scoring honors with his 16 points, one better than the Warriors’ Taylor who had 15. Ashcraft had 12 points and Fischer had 11 for Goshen. Small was helped out by Ryan Rees’ 10 points and Atkins’ six points.
Bethel-Tate fell to 1-4 on the year and fifth place in the Southern Buckeye Conference American Division. The Tigers played Blanchester on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
Goshen is tied atop the American Division with Western Brown at 3-0 in the league. The Warriors played at Georgetown on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
Bethel-Tate (1-4) – Atkins 2 2 6, Hartley 2 0 5, Rees 5 0 10, Small 4 6 16, Cherry 2 0 5, Shinkle 1 2 4, Adams 1 1 4. Totals: 17 11 50.
Goshen (3-1) – Wake 3 0 6, Fischer 5 1 11, Ashcraft 3 5 12, Taylor 7 1 15, Edwards 0 1 1, Messer 4 0 8. Totals: 22 8 53.
Halftime score: Tied 18-18. 3-pointers: BT (Small 2, Hartley, Cherry, Adams); G 1 (Ashcraft).