Elyria Christian boys win tourney title

By Steve Sell
December 10, 2017

What a spectacular first week for the No. 5-ranked (Class 1A D-II) Elyria Christian School boys.

The Eagles capped off a 3-0 week on Saturday with a 51-25 rout of Burrton to win the championship of the Goessel Bluebird Classic.

“I was excited for the boys, they have really worked hard in this early season and it was nice to see that work pay off,” ECS coach Zach Goodrich said. “We are just trying to get better every game and I believe we did that tonight. Our halfcourt defense was our main focus this week of games and in the final game we put all the pieces together. Rotations, help side and communicating through switches were great. If we can play defense this way the entire season, I think we will have a chance to be in every game.”

The Eagles had nice balance as Burrton couldn’t rely on just trying to shut down top scorer Tyler Thiessen.

“It was a balanced attack for us tonight, having five guys score 7 points or more, so that makes it tough to key in on one guy,” Goodrich said. “I felt we shared the ball well early and found the best look in the halfcourt. Tyler Thiessen, Aidan Fields and Caleb (Froese) did a great job of drawing in the defense and looking for their open teammates. I believe all three played great team basketball this week. There was another great effort defensively tonight by Jackson Stone and Tyler Huxman. We really have guys doing the things they need to do to help us be successful and that is encouraging to me.”

Thiessen’s 10 points led ECS. The Eagles jumped all over the Chargers at the start, going up 16-7 early, and closed the game on a 17-5 run.

• Goessel girls 49, Elyria Christian 31 — The Goessel Bluebirds will be one of the most athletic teams the Eagles play all year.

Goessel sprinted to a 33-13 halftime lead, but once the Eagles settled down they actually outscored the Bluebirds by 2 in the second half. Christin Vetter and Bailey Unruh scored 8 apiece to lead ECS.

“I was very happy with the way our girls came out in the second half when they were down by 20 against an outstanding, athletic Goessel team,” ECS coach Greg Fields said. “A lot of girls would have given up and hung their heads, but the girls made some adjustments on defense and made wiser decisions on our press break in the second half. Bailey Unruh got into early foul trouble and had to back off on the defensive side tonight, but she did a great job with the ball and scored when she had opportunities. Christin came out in the second half with a lot more confidence and made a huge impact for us.”

• Little River girls 69, Burrton 31 — Also at Goessel, Little River showed what it can do when its firing on all cylinders, piling up 30 points in the third quarter to run away from Burrton. 

The Redskins had really nice balance, with Mackinzie Barta and Isabelle Eberle scoring 11 points apiece. Emma McBride and Riley Bruce added 8.

• Little River boys 58, Canton-Galva 30 — It appeared to have the makings of a close game early as the teams battled to an 11-all standoff in the first quarter.

But Little River outscored C-G 38-13 over the middle two quarters.

Freshman Jayden Garrison had his second game of at least 25 points as he hit that number on the nose to lead Little River. He had 29 in the first game of the season.

Jordan Moffet added 13. 

Landon Everett matched that number for the Eagles.

“We played well to start the game, but foul trouble hampered what we wanted to do on both ends of the court,” C-G coach Shane Duncan said. “We needed to do a better job of playing defense with our feet, rather that our hands. Their pressure rattled us in the second and third quarter and we needed to do a better job of keeping our composure.”

• Note — No information on the Hesston games and Canton-Galva girls was available.