ELKHART — An inexperienced Goshen boys basketball team showed some maturity in the final minute of Tuesday's game against Elkhart Central.
That poise under pressure helped the RedHawks rally past the Blue Blazers, 40-38, at North Side Gym.
Goshen, which lost four starters from last year's team, scored the final six points of the game, with those points being two 3-pointers from Zack Barker.
Barker's first trey down the stretch came with :41 left in the game after a missed front end of a 1-and-1 from Central's Cam'ron Daniels with a minute remaining in the game.
The second clutch 3-pointer from Barker came with :18 left and turned out to be the game-winner. Drew Hogan's steal with :27 left set up that shot.
"We had to make every play," said Goshen coach Michael Wohlford, whose team improved to 2-0. "If one thing doesn't go right we don't come back and win. We blocked out and got some rebounds. We got some hustle plays and Zack Barker stepped-up and hit some big shots.
"Really at the positions where we feel like sometimes we have an advantage we couldn't score, so we looked to Zack Barker where we felt like tonight he had an advantage. He got free for two shots late. We also looked to freshman Quinn Bechtel and he made a big shot in the fourth quarter."
Barker finished with 18 points to lead the RedHawks.
Trailing 40-38, Blue Blazers coach Scott Sekal called a timeout with :10.2 left. After the break, Isaiah Chandler attempted a shot just inside the free-throw line which never hit the rim. Time soon ran out after the missed shot.
"Could we have gotten a better shot?," said Sekal. "I'm sure we could have. The positive is that we got a shot up, but at the same time was that exactly what we had drawn up. No. But, it's one more thing for us to work on."
With a 38-34 lead, Sekal talked about what the strategy was for his team late in the game.
"We were just trying to take care of the ball and move it and have strong possessions," Sekal said. "We made a bad pass. They were playing a 2-3 zone and we hit it to the middle and that's a time you don't necessarily need to throw it to the middle. My kids were attacking and I like that."
Goshen made an adjustment to the zone after seeing Central go on a 13-0 run and take a 24-13 lead with 4:04 left in the second quarter.
"We gave up 14 points in the last 20 minutes and it was all zone," Wohlford said. "(Central) kept running the same slash offense and our guys adjusted really well. Our big guys in the middle – Blak Wiess and Zane Barker – really guarded well and our guards shifted really well. We played man (to start the game) and we couldn't guard the ball. Our help was late and then they beat us inside.
" We went to zone and kept the ball out on the perimeter. The only adjustment (Central) made was that they set a ball screen up high and we made an adjustment there where our big guy did a soft hedge. (Assistant) coach (Kris) Davis suggested that we go to a 2-3 zone and I said, why not, because we couldn't stop them."
Hogan's three shots from beyond the arc and a basket from Barker helped Goshen go into halftime tied at 24.
Hogan scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half.
"That was something we worked on," Sekal said about defending Hogan. "He has a really quick release. I thought Cam'ron did a great job on Hogan. He held him to two points in the second half. I don't think (Daniels) left the floor. We have some warrior kids. Unfortunately, I couldn't go super deep tonight. That's a work in progress."
Sekal used only six guys in the first half and nine in the game.
The Blue Blazers played well defensively for most of the game, without fouling. Central had only five fouls, compared to 13 for Goshen. But the Blue Blazers didn't take advantage of that edge, as Central was only 7-of-12 at the line. The RedHawks made two of their four free throws.
"(Central) is a really good man-to-man defensive team on the ball," Wohlford said. "They locked down Drew Hogan. (Daniels) did an amazing job on Drew, (Luke Teich) can defend and (Isaiah) Chandler did a nice job on Jarah Byler.
"We feel fortunate to get out of here with a win. We're excited."
Goshen is off to a 2-0 start for the first time since the 2012-2013 season, while Central stands at 0-2.
Teich scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Blue Blazers. Daniels and Chandler each added 10.
"I'm so proud of the kids," Sekal said. "They went hard. Basketball is a game of execution and there were a few possessions we let down on defensively. But, as a whole, I thought we played a ton better. It's a process and day by day and game by game we keep getting better. I'm excited. They're a great group of kids."
GOSHEN 40, ELKHART CENTRAL 38
GOSHEN: Blak Wiess 0 0-0 0, Jarah Byler 1 0-0 2, Quinn Bechtel 2 0-2 4, Zack Barker 7 2-2 18, Drew Hogan 5 0-0 14, Zane Barker 0 0-0 0, Tommy Cartagena Garcia 0 0-0 0, Ryan Harmelink 1 0-0 2, Anders Revoir 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-38 (.421), 2-4 (.500), 40.
CENTRAL: Luke Teich 4 1-4 11, Mark Brownlee 1 0-0 2, Cam'ron Daniels 3 4-5 10, Isaiah Chandler 4 2-3 10, Ty Windy 1 0-0 3, Joe Richardson 1 0-0 2, Armon Hurt 0 0-0 0, Donovan Johnson 0 0-0 0, Akita Walker 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-32 (.437), 7-12 (.583), 38.
3-point goals: Goshen (6) - Hogan 4, Zack Barker 2; Central (3) - Teich 2, Windy. Rebounds: Goshen (20) - Hogan 5, Wiess 4, Zack Barker 4; Central (23) - Teich 11, Chandler 5, Daniels 4. Assists: Goshen (11) - Zack Barker 3, Byler 3; Central (10) - Chandler 3. Turnovers: Goshen 9, Central 12. Steals: Goshen (9) - Zack Barker 4, Cartagena Garcia 2; Central (4) - Daniels 2. Total fouls: Goshen 13, Central 5. Fouled out - none. Records: Goshen 2-0, Central 0-2. JV: Central 60, Goshen 59 (2 OT).