MISHAWAKA — Brady Bechtel’s heave that more resembled a long soccer throw-in than a basketball shot as far as the form he used was all the sophomore needed to kick away a night of ball-handling frustration, kick some periodical physical pain at least momentarily to the curb and kick host Marian right in the collective teeth.
The Goshen guard’s left-wing 3-pointer just outside the arc as time expired lifted the Redskins to a 51-50 victory over the host Knights in each team’s boys high school basketball season opener Tuesday, Nov. 26.
“I also had about 10 turnovers,” Bechtel said with a gracious smile when kidded about swiping teammate Deric Haynes’ thunder on an evening that Haynes scored a career-high 26 points and made three steals.
“Deric really stepped up tonight,” Bechtel said.
But so did Bechtel when it mattered most.
Merely the third option on a play in which Jack Gingerich inbounded from the forecourt baseline with 1.9 seconds left, Bechtel faded to the left wing, took Gingerich’s pass, decided he didn’t have enough time to make a move and launched the shot as he was fading away with the Knights’ Ryan Schafer right in his face.
“As I released it, I thought it was an air ball,” Bechtel admitted, “but then I saw it swish through the net, and it seemed like before I even hit the floor, I had people surrounding me.”
Those surrounding him included teammates, Goshen’s well-stocked student cheering section when it comes to being a Tuesday night road game, and his father and head coach, Brian Bechtel.
“One of the first people I saw was Rian Doyle,” Brady Bechtel said of the student section, “and I have to give him credit because he brings a lot of people out. I really do appreciate him bringing the students out.”
“No question it was a Hail Mary,” Brian Bechtel said of his son’s game-winner, “but I’m proud of him because he had a terrible night handling the ball, but hung in there. It was eerie how the teams put up such similar numbers. It came down to one lucky shot at the end of the game.”
Those eerily similar numbers included each team shooting between 45 and 46 percent from the field, finishing one apart in turnovers with the Redskins at 21 and the Knights at 20, each going 10-of-13 at the line, and each having a leading scorer who poured in 26 points.
Guard Devin Cannady netted that many for the Knights, and the slick junior also had nine rebounds and three assists.
Junior Nick Harris added all of his 11 points in the second half for the hosts and grabbed nine boards.
Brady Bechtel finished with 10 points and two steals for Goshen.
“When I saw our defender (Ryan Schafer) there before he let go,” Marian coach Robb Berger said of Bechtel’s decisive shot, “I thought, ‘We’re in good shape.’ Schafer did a really good job there, but to the kid’s credit, he hit a really big shot.”
For Bechtel, not only did his shot provide sweet relief after all those turnovers — Goshen’s stats actually had him at seven of those, not the 10 that he estimated — but it was also a sweet sensation for a player who has undergone two knee surgeries since last season and continues to battle swelling after again injuring that same knee this fall in football.
“It felt fine during the game,” Bechtel said. “As long as it doesn’t swell too bad, I’ll be OK. It’s right after I come out, when I’m not playing, that’s when it starts to hurt. I’ll just ice it as much as I can and be ready for Saturday’s game (at Glenn).”
That’s a game in which the Redskins will try to clean up some of their miscues.
“There were times execution-wise that we did really well tonight,” Brian Bechtel said, “and other times, their press really bothered us. The turnovers were disappointing, but the biggest thing is we won the game. I thought both teams, for being young teams, played about as well as you can for the first game of the year. It’s just that Thanksgiving dinner’s going to taste a lot better for us now.”
“We played well in stretches and not so well in stretches, but we are young, and you are going to see that,” Berger said. “We had way too many unforced turnovers. That’s something we’re going to have to work on.”
Goshen 51, Marian 50
Goshen — Austin Woolett 3-5 1-2 7, Alex Haney 0-2 0-0 0, Deric Haynes 8-15 5-5 26, Jack Gingerich 2-4 2-2 6, Brady Bechtel 4-10 0-0 10, Alex Hartsough 0-1 0-0 0, Isaac Huerta 0-0 0-0 0, DJ Ambrose 0-0 2-4 2, Trevor Weldy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-37 (.459) 10-13 (.769) 51.
Marian — Will Whitten 0-2 4-6 4, Nick Harris 5-6 1-1 11, Ryan Schafer 1-4 2-2 4, Devin Cannady 11-21 3-4 26, Quron Marks 1-4 0-0 3, Jake Whitfield 1-4 0-0 2, Anthony Blum 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 19-42 (.452) 10-13 (.769) 50.
Scoring By Quarters
Goshen 13 8 21 9 — 51
Marian 6 17 12 15 — 50
3-point goals: Goshen (7-18) — Haynes 5-10, Bechtel 2-7; Marian (2-13) — Marks 1-2, Cannady 1-9.
Rebounds: Goshen (20) — Woolett 6, Haney 6; Marian (25) — Harris 9, Cannady 9.
Assists: Goshen (13) — Huerta 4, Haney 3, Gingerich 3; Marian (7) — Schafer 3, Cannady 3.
Steals: Goshen (7) — Haynes 3, Bechtel 2; Marian (8) — Schafer 2, Cannady 2, Whitfield 2.
Turnovers: Goshen 21, Marian 20.
Fouls: Goshen 11, Marian 14. Fouled out — none. Technical — Marian, scorebook error.
Officials: Dave Spencer, Jim Weinberg, Bruce Wirick.
Records: Goshen 1-0, Marian 0-1.
Next: Goshen at Glenn Saturday, Dec. 3; Marian at New Prairie Friday, Dec. 6.
JV: Marian 40, Goshen 32. Top scorers: Marian — Zach Combs 14, Jair Rodgers 10; Goshen — James Paetkau 9, Oliver Nafziger 7. JV records: Marian 1-0, Goshen 0-1.