Trinity standout gets double-double to lead Cougars in victory


Trinity Lutheran’s boys basketball team used a big fourth quarter to seal a 59-43 win against the Lutheran High School Saints on Friday night at the Bollinger Athletic Complex.

The Cougars outscored the Saints 24-16 in the closing quarter.

Tyler Goecker led the Cougars with eight points — with six from the line — in the final eight minutes. He finished the game with a double-double on 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Cougars.

Cougars coach Brian Stuckwisch said a performance like that gives his team a boost.

“He’s a hard-nosed kid,” he said. “He plays hard all the time and gave us a great effort and I think our kids feed off of him.”

It appeared as though the game would end closer than the margin the Cougars ended with because the Saints used a rush of baskets to cut the lead to six points early in the fourth quarter.

Just when the momentum appeared to favor the Saints, the Cougars responded with a 9-0 run to bring the score 38-27.

That stretch was a big moment for the team, Stuckwisch said.

“I think we hit some shots at some key points, which forced them to rely on their man-to-man defense and it opened it up,” he said. “We kind of were able to pick them apart there.”

The Saints did bounce back on a 6-0 run, but the Cougars had created a large enough lead to hold them at bay.

AJ Goecker led the Cougars overall with a 21-point performance.

The game started with Trinity’s first possession resulting in a turnover when the Saints’ Riley Wilson stole the ball and took it down the court to score the first basket of the game on a break away.

AJ Goecker quickly tied the game with a short jumper. Jacob Rowe then added one of his three three pointers of the quarter and gave the Cougars their first lead of the game as they went up 5-4. Both teams exchanged possessions and baskets and the Cougars led 16-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The Saints struggled to get their offense going in the second quarter and the Cougars took advantage of it, out-scoring the Saints 7-3 in the opening four minutes of the quarter. That was powered by an impressive off-balance basket by Tyler Goecker, a three from Jack Marksberry and basket by AJ Goecker and gave the Cougars a 21-13 lead.

The Saints were unable to score until Wilson hit a three at the 4:23 mark, which seemed to wake up his team’s offense. The team converted several offensive plays and benefited from a Trinity turnover and cut the lead to 25-20 going into the locker room at the half. The Cougars narrowly out-scored the Saints 9-7 in the second quarter. AJ Goecker led the Cougars in the second quarter with four points. Wilson led the Saints with 11 points in the first half.

Both teams started the third quarter a little flat, but the Cougars put up 10 points to the Saints’ seven. AJ Goecker scored eight of those points while Trent Shoemaker added a basket. Shoemaker and AJ Goecker teamed up for a fancy play that featured a no-look pass from Shoemaker to Goecker underneath the basket.

Stuckwisch said he saw a lot of improvement from his team in the game.

“We have a lot more improvement tonight and this is a great way to start the year,” he said, adding the team has been tightening up its rebounding and defense in practice. “It looks like it’s paid off because I think we did a better job of that tonight.”

Another bright spot for the Cougars was Jacob Rowe’s impressive performance from beyond the arc. Rowe hit four three pointers – three in the second quarter — in the game and added a free throw to score 13 points.

“That just opens the middle up and changes the whole dynamic of the game and the other team has to focus on him, which can leave other guys open,” Stuckwisch said.

Trinity (4-7) will travel to Henryville tonight.

No posts to display