ELKHART – It was the threes and the frees that sent Goshen to a sectional semifinal win Friday night.
The RedHawks hit from deep in the first half and finished the evening off fine from the free throw line in downing Elkhart Memorial 65-56 in the first semifinal game of the Class 4-A Elkhart Central Sectional at North Side Gym.
Goshen, now 15-9, advances to play Warsaw (16-9) Saturday at 7 p.m. for the sectional title and a spot in the Michigan City Regional on March 11 versus the winner of the East Chicago Central Sectional. Warsaw steamrolled host Central 71-35 in the second semifinal contest Friday night. Warsaw beat Goshen 57-31 in NLC action back on Jan. 13 at Goshen.
Goshen, which lost 58-52 to Memorial in a conference game on Jan. 27, had a huge night from Will Line and CJ Detweiler in the win. Junior Line scored a team-high 20 points and senior Detweiler finished with 16, all coming in the second half. Detweiler scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including hitting eight free throws in the final frame to ice the win.
The RedHawks used a big second quarter to take command. The game was tied at 8-8 after the opening period before Goshen outscored the Crimson Chargers 21-15 in the second stanza to lead 29-23 at halftime. Goshen hit five treys in the second quarter, including three by senior Eliot Nafziger.
Goshen led 43-35 at the end of the third period and were up by as many as 12 points in the final period. Memorial, led by senior Joe Smith, rallied within 59-56 with 47.1 seconds to play on a triple by sophomore Hank Smith before Detweiler sealed the deal from the line. Detweiler calmly canned 6-6 from the stripe in the final 34 seconds to wrap up the win.
Detweiler, who missed the first eight games of the season while recovering from injuries sustained during football season, also was a beast on the boards with 14 caroms for the winners.
Senior Mitchell Walters, whose shot at the final horn lifted Goshen past Concord 40-38 in the sectional opener on Tuesday night, canned 15 points in Friday night’s win. Nafziger added 12 for the winners.
Goshen shot 21-41 overall from the field, including a fine 7-13 from deep. Memorial was just 18-49 from the field.
Goshen, under first-year coach Michael Wohlford, will be looking to claim the program’s first sectional title since 1992. The RedHawks enter the sectional final Saturday night with four straight wins and six victories in their last seven games.
Joe Smith, one of two seniors, led Memorial with a game-high 23 points. Junior Jose Soto had 12 points for the Crimson Chargers.
Memorial closes out its season 11-12.