By William

GREAT BEND – Big offensive second and fourth quarters helped propel the Elyria Christian boys to a 55-42 win over Pawnee Heights in the Class 1A Division semifinals on Friday in Great Bend, giving the Eagles a spot in the State Championship game on Saturday.

With the victory, the Eagles are now 16-9 for the season and will tangle with Hanover who made the state championship game by beating Northern Valley 85-58. Hanover will come into the contest with just one loss to go with 23 wins this season. This will be the second trip to a state championship game in the careers of the Elyria seniors. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.

Pawnee Heights held a four-point, 9-5 lead at the end of the first quarter before the Eagles put 18 points on the board in the second quarter to take a slim one-point, 23-22, advantage into the halftime break.

Coming out of the intermission, Elyria pushed their lead to three points at 34-31 before erupting for 21 points in the final eight minutes of the game to earn the final 13-point victory and the trip to the state championship game.

“I am very proud of our guys and the way they battled tonight,” noted Elyria head coach Zach Goodrich. “Pawnee Heights saw some shots go in early and our shots did not fall much in the first quarter. It would have been easy to let that get in our heads, but we did not. The guys continued to shoot with confidence and believe shots would start to fall and they did just that.”

Two spots on the stat sheet that should heavy favor toward the Eagles included getting 13 more free throw attempts and making 10 more than those of Pawnee Heights, while the Elyria defense forced the Pawnee Heights offense into 16 turnovers.

Bret Anderson had a superb game as he connected on 9-of-12 shots from the field and led the Eagles with 18 points while also grabbing three rebounds and making four steals.

Zach Stucky and Josef Hobson also reached double digits in the scorebook with 16 and 10 points each while Stucky led the team in dishing out four assists, while Hobson passed out a pair of assists, pulled down four rebounds and made a pair of steals. Keyan Wiggers led the work in the paint with a team leading nine rebounds.

Coach Goodrich continued his post-game reflections by adding, “I thought we moved the ball well all game and got some quality looks. Pawnee Heights had some extremely athletic guys, and they got some key offensive rebounds, especially in the first half. I thought in the second half we limited their second chance points much better. Bret Anderson had the best game of his senior season tonight. I thought he played loose, hard and was a force on defense. Zach Stucky also played tremendous and handled their defensive pressure well.”

Goodrich concluded his reflections by saying, “We are thrilled to be back in the state championship game tomorrow and will take on a great team in Hanover.”


SCORING:                 Q1      Q2      Q3      Q4      FINAL

Pawnee Heights      9          13       9          11       42

ELYRIA EAGLES        5          18       11       21       55

Pawnee Heights Team Stats: FG 18-38; 3PT 5-15; FT 1-5; AST 7; RBS 24; TO 16; STL 2; BLK 2; FLS 15.

ELYRIA CHRISTIAN EAGLES TEAM STATS: FG 21-45; 3PT 2-10; FT 11-18; AST 11; RBS 28; TO 7; STL 9; BLK 0; FLS 12.


Scoring (55): Bret Anderson – 18; Zach Stucky – 16; Josef Hobson – 10; Keyan Wiggers – 6; Ben Unruh – 3; Kade Aroum – 2.

3-Pointers Made (2): Stucky, Unruh – 1.

Assists (11): Stucky – 4; Unruh – 3; Hobson, Aroum – 2.

Rebounds (28): Wiggers – 9; Hobson – 4; Anderson – 3; Stucky – 2; Unruh, Aroum, James Schott, Josh Allen – 1.

Steals (9): Anderson – 4; Stucky, Hobson – 2; Wiggers – 1.

{Elyria Christian Eagle Postings are SPONSORED by CrossDove Creations}