GOESSEL — The top-ranked team in Class 1A DII was missing two starters for Friday night’s Wheat State League match up with Goessel.
Elyria Christian School’s Aidan Fields and Jaden Starburg were sidelined with minor injuries, but senior sensation Tyler Thiessen wasn’t going to allow the Eagles to lose their first game of the season.
Behind 23 points and nine rebounds from Thiessen, Elyria raced past Goessel 53-29 to improve to 8-0 on the season. Despite missing two juniors from the starting lineup, the Eagles still had experience to pave the way over a youthful Goessel squad.
“Goessel is a young team and I thought they played hard the whole game,” Elyria head coach Zach Goodrich said, “and we were fortunate to have some experienced upperclassmen that helped us down the stretch. We were strong on the glass and got a number of second chance opportunities off of crashing the offensive boards.”
Freshman Zach Stucky and sophomore Jackson Stone got the start in place of the injured Eagles. It took the new-look starting lineup a while to find its groove early on, as it was a one possession game most of the first quarter.
With eight seconds left, Thiessen drove hard to the paint, kicked the ball out to an open Jonah Nelson, who buried a triple to put the Eagles up four at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter is when Goodrich believes his squad found its rhythm. Again, Nelson drained a 3-pointer late, this time with 10 seconds left, to give the Eagles a 29-13 lead heading into halftime.
The Eagles held Goessel scoreless for the first 4:25 of the second half and only allowed four points in the entire third quarter. Elyria led by as many as 28 points before settling for the 24-point win.
“[Tyler] attacked the rim hard and got a lot of great looks,” Goodrich said. “The rest of the guys all contributed, and we had balanced scoring throughout the lineup tonight which makes us tough to beat.”
Caleb Froese stepped up offensively as well, scoring nine points including a pair of 3-pointers. Nelson also made two big 3-pointers and finished with eight points on the night.
Jordan Griffin led Goessel with 15 points, while no other Bluebird scored more than five points.
Elyria will square off with a winless Peabody-Burns team Tuesday in the first round of the Centre Classic.
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