Boys Basketball

Boys basketball: Colin Nesler scores 23 despite early foul trouble as Genoa-Kingston beats Woodstock

Genoa-Kingston's Colin Nesler goes to the basket between two Woodstock defenders during their game Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, at Genoa-Kingston High School.

GENOA – Even though he missed the second quarter because of foul trouble, Colin Nesler put up a big game for Genoa-Kingston to help the Cogs take down Woodstock, 60-54, on Wednesday.

Nesler went to the bench late in the first quarter with two quick fouls but still finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

“They were sitting on a 2-3 [zone], the guards were able to kick it to me, and I was able to get easy layups,” Nesler said.

Nesler also had a strong performance on the defensive end, holding Woodstock sophomore post Spencer Cullum to 5-of-19 shooting in an 11-point, eight-rebound performance.

G-K coach Ethan Franklin said he was glad to see Nesler come out strong in the third quarter, stay tough defensively and stay out of foul trouble.

“Sometimes he has big third quarters, other times he picks up a quick foul and has to come right back out,” Franklin said. “I thought he did a good job of keeping his composure and staying straight up, forcing [Cullum] to make a lot of tough shots instead of putting him at the line.”

The Cogs (16-3) went on a 13-0 run to close the first quarter and lead 18-8 after 1. Even with Nesler on the bench – and then his backup Declan Creadon also on the bench with two fouls each – the Blue Streaks (7-10) couldn’t close the gap and went into halftime down, 30-18.

Woodstock coach Al Baker said he was pleased with the way his team played.

“Genoa-Kingston is a very good team,” Baker said. “They have a lot of guys who can pass, rebound dribble, and shoot. And that can make you hard to guard sometimes. But I thought we did a good job of that.

“I was a little worried about their pressure coming in, and our guys handled that very well. But the biggest difference was Nesler. He was a load down there, and we didn’t have an answer for him on the glass or scoring around the basket.”

Even with the Cogs deploying their usual press, Woodstock committed fewer turnovers than the Cogs, 23-13. The Blue Streaks scored 17 points off the G-K turnovers. They took more shots (21 of 54) from the field but the Cogs (23 of 44) shot better than 50%.

“We’ve actually shot a better percentage than our opponents six of the last seven games, but we’re only 4-3 there because we don’t force turnovers,” Baker said. “We don’t turn it over a lot, but other teams don’t either, so they get more attempts than we do. That’s something we focused on in practice this week, and they came out and did a good job with that. Hopefully, that becomes a trend moving forward.”

Franklin said he was glad to see his team respond well to a zone defense, something they struggled with early in the season.

“They threw that at us for the majority of the game, and I thought our guys responded well,” Franklin said. “Colin got a lot of looks in the post from that and our guards moved the ball very well.”

And he said Nesler was a big part of that.

“Colin’s been waiting for a game like this to happen,” Franklin said. “Him getting over 20 is huge for us. I thought he did a great job on both ends of the floor for us. Had some early foul trouble that kept him out ... all the second quarter. For him to put together a 20 and probably 10-rebound game, that’s huge for him especially missing a quarter-plus.”

Caden Ogle led the Blue Streaks with 17 points, while Javi Garay added 13 points and six steals. Nesler was the only Cog in double figures, but Josh Oates and Josh Bunting scored nine each, with Jake Oates chipping in eight points, 12 rebounds and three steals.

The Cogs’ lead stayed at seven or more until late in the third, when the Blue Streaks twice got within four. The Cogs built it back to 52-43 on a three-point play by Nesler with 3:56 left but a three-point play by Hayden Haak made it 54-49 with 1:12 left.

The Cogs made their free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.

“We’ve got to stay consistent,” Nesler said. “It’s basketball. We know the other team is going to make a run sooner or later but we’ve got to play our game.”