Goshen boys come up short in tournament championship game

Published 11:21 pm Saturday, December 13, 2014

Donta Hall scored a game-high 21 points and Luverne was able to hold on for the win despite being outscored in the second half as the Tigers defeated Goshen 70-57 Saturday night in the Goshen Holiday Tournament championship game.

Early on in the contest, Goshen had issues dealing with the Luverne full-court press. The Eagles committed three-straight turnovers to start the game and the Tigers took advantage, getting out to a 10-3 lead.

And the length of Hall in the paint caused issues for the Eagles as well. The senior center saw his most productive stretch in the first quarter, scoring 10 of his 21 points.

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But thanks to sound free throw shooting and an Azontae Rogers 3-pointer, Goshen was able to chip away at Luverne’s lead to close out the first quarter.

In the second quarter, however, Luverne’s offense heated up and the Eagles could do little to defend it.

The Tigers outscored the Eagles 15-4 in the second, behind five points from Tyrik Wilson.

Goshen missed several breakaway layups and open jumpers from the outside, while being outrebounded on the offensive end.

And as time expired in the first half, Hill sunk a 3-pointer that took the breath completely out of the gym as Luverne went into halftime up 33-14.

But coming out of the locker room, it was clear Goshen head coach Jonny Mitchell made some halftime adjustments.

The Eagles opened the second half in a full-court press, and immediately began creating confusion and, ultimately, turnovers. As Luverne continued to make bad passes while attempting to break the press, Goshen kept scoring, opening up the second half on a 10-2 run to trim the Tiger lead to 35-24.

“We knew we could probably get their guards to turn the ball over some,” Mitchell said. “We went to the press and zone in the second half and created some turnovers and got the lead back down.”

Quavian Simmons scored 10 points in the third quarter for Goshen, and the Eagles battled back to within 10.

And in the fourth quarter, Goshen got within nine points of the Luverne lead after a Rogers free throw.

But that was as close as the Eagles would get all night.

Luverne’s Kenterius Womack, sensing the lead was slipping, netted seven points in the fourth to cushion the Tigers’ lead.

Goshen had plenty of opportunities for points in the fourth quarter, but came up short.

The Eagles were just 11-of-22 from the free throw line in the final eight minutes, leaving valuable points off the board.

The Tigers, on the other hand, finished strong, making nine of their final 12 free throw attempts and secured the victory despite being outscored 43-35 in the second half.

“Our kids play hard every night out,” Mitchell said. “We’re limited sometimes in size and experience, but we play hard every night and that gives you a chance to win.“