COZAD — The Gothenburg Lady Swedes and Cozad Lady Haymakers battled back-and-forth for four quarters in Cozad on Thursday, and it would be the Lady Swedes prevailing with the 44-38 win. In the boys game the Haymakers used turnovers and the transition game to overcome the Swedes 58-41.
Cozad led the Lady Swedes 11-9 after one quarter, and 23-18 heading into halftime. Cozad’s Kaylea Reyes scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the opening half to lead the Lady Haymakers. But it would be the third quarter that would be their undoing.
Cozad (3-8) built their lead to 27-22 with 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the third on a 15-foot baseline shot by Kylee Griffis. But Gothenburg (6-8) finished the quarter with the final six points, of what would continue to become an eight-point run in the fourth, setting the tone for the final eight minutes.
Emily Franzen hit from eight feet, Aryn Meisinger drove the lane for two and Brittyn Munster grabbed a rebound and put it back for a slim 28-27 lead.
“She kind of sneaks in there from the back side and gets underneath everybody,” Gothenburg coach Chris Lecher said of Munster’s rebound. “She has the knack for the ball.”
“It killed us,” Cozad coach Michael Gogan said of the run. “I told the kids if we could win the third quarter that we could hold on and win the game.
“Fatigue and we were sloppy with a couple passes and gave up a couple offensive rebounds — two things you can’t do and we did them both. That gave them all the momentum going into the fourth quarter.”
Cozad did tie the game at 31-all at the 6:13 mark of the fourth, but over the next three minutes the Lady Swedes outscored Cozad 7-0, the decisive points coming from Munster with a 3 from the right wing.
“Brittyn is a great player and you could tell fatigue had set in on us,” said Gogan. “I always tell our kids it’s a lot harder to play when you’re tired and trailing than when you’re ahead.
“I think that was kind of the dagger,” Gogan said of the Munster 3. She’s a great player and we knew we had to find her. We did a good job on her most of the time. I think that’s the first time she got away from us. We just lost her at the wrong time.”
The teams traded baskets in the final 2:22 for the 44-38 outcome.
“We’ve been talking about coming out in the second half a lot stronger,” Lecher said. “Early in the season we were kind of weak in the third quarter, but here lately we’ve had some nice third quarters. We stressed that coming out the locker room at half time.
Gothenburg and Cozad struggled to maintain any momentum in the first and second quarters. Both coaches felt the rivalry between the schools affected their play.
“Their pressure bothered us, but it’s Cozad,” said Lecher. “And I knew our girls were going to be a little nervous for it. It was what it was. I was just hoping we could keep close and wait till the second half.”
“Both teams came out with a lot of energy when you play your rival,” Gogan said. “We got into a good rhythm towards the end of the first half offensively and executed pretty well. We had some nice runs and were probably within a shot or two of opening a lead we could hold on to but we didn’t.”
Gothenburg (6-8) ..................................9 9 10 16 — 44
Cozad (3-8)........................11 12 4 11 — 38
Gothenburg stats: (2 pt, 3 pt, ft, pts) Brittyn Munster 2, 1, 5/8, 12; Aryn Meisinger 5, 0, 0/0, 10; Taylor Mroczek 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Regan Geiken 3, 0, 2/4, 8; Jacey Wiggins 3, 0, 2/3, 8; Taylor Wolf 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Emily Franzen 1, 0, 0/0, 2.
Cozad stats: Kylee Griffis 3, 0, 0/1, 4; Hannah Thramer 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Riley Sigler 2, 0, 0/0, 4; Kaylea Reyes 7, 0, 5/5, 19; Emily Reyes 1, 1, 0/0, 5; Ellen Laird 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Courtney Geiger 0, 0, 0/1, 0.
Haymakers down Swedes
A coach’s dream is to get off to a good start, giving their team momentum for the rest of the contest. Unfortunately for Gothenburg it was Cozad that accomplished that in three of the four quarters.
Cozad put together a 14-2 run in the first three minutes of the game and the Swedes battled the rest of the night to regain some momentum. Cozad’s Nate Bubak scored all eight of his points in the run to kick-start the Haymakers offense.
“We’ve shot the ball well in some games,” said Cozad coach Brian Davis. “That can be both a blessing and a curse.
“You like to get out to that start and shoot the ball well, but our habit has been to settle for those and that creates standing. Nate could have kept shooting those but we kept moving the ball and kept attacking. So when we do both, we’re a tough team.”
Cozad’s pressure defense gave Gothenburg fits, causing the Swedes to turn the ball over.
“The pressure, without a doubt,” said Gothenburg coach Roger Koehler. “They were able to take us out of our game. Their athleticism showed and they got out to a hot start.”
Gothenburg was able to close to within 22-17 late in the second quarter, but Cozad went into half scoring six of the final eight points.
“They hit some big shots,” Koehler said. “We told the boys [Cozad] is going to score in bunches and we’re going to have to weather the storm. We got it to five — they came with another barrage — and we couldn’t answer it.”
Both teams could only manage eight points apiece in the second quarter, but the Haymakers found success from behind the arc to begin the second half.
First it was Jacob Rush with a 3 from the right wing just 10 seconds into the quarter. They Tylar Lauby hit from the top of the key 35 seconds later. Rush then scored on a Lauby assist to end a six-point run.
“We were hoping to come out and keep running pressure at them the whole night,” Davis said. “Fortunately for us it worked out because they did a good job of pounding it inside.
“We had to play our game and get turnovers that create those easy buckets and it worked out.”
Cozad also had a run to begin the final quarter of 10 points.
This time it was Lauby that dominated play. He knocked down a 3, 30 seconds into the quarter and came back with a steal and layup 10 seconds later. Lauby again scored on a Cozad steal to put the Haymakers up 14. Before the run was over, Cozad held a 54-27 lead.
“We’ve got different combinations that we can go with,” Davis said. “I’ve told them the group that starts, we’re looking for guys that will get us out of the gate. I think the group we had tonight certainly did that for us. I’m going to stick with them until that changes.”
Cozad (7-3).................................20 8 16 14 — 58
Gothenburg (4-9)...........................11 8 8 14 — 41
Cozad stats: (2 pt, 3 pt, ft, pts) Colin Wetovick 1, 0, 6/6, 8; Nate Bubak 1, 2, 0/0, 8; Tylar Lauby 2, 2, 0/0, 10; Jake Paulsen 1, 0, 2/2, 4; Jacob Rush 3, 1, 0/0, 9; Tysen Werner 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Conor Young 4, 0, 0/1, 8; Jason Finnegan 1, 0, 3/6, 5; Jacob Stallbaumer 2, 0, 0/2, 4.
Gothenburg stats: Jacob Clark 2, 0, 0/2, 4; Blake Ristine 4, 0, 0/1, 8; Nathan Graham 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Roy Slack 2, 0, 0/0, 4; Tanner Borchardt 7, 0, 1/3, 15; Logan Koehler 3, 0, 3/3, 8.