Boys Basketball: Goodhue's season stopped by R-P
ROCHESTER – If you went to Thursday’s Section 1A championship game, there’s a good chance you were hand-checked at the gate. Not by a security guard, but by a young man dressed in green or white.
Such was the defense displayed by Rushford-Peterson and Goodhue. Shots were hard to come by in a game that appeared to have two teams of swarming bees on the court. Making a shot was nearly a miracle.
When the final buzzer sounded, and the Trojans stormed the court after a 38-31 victory that will send them to the Class A state tournament, the moods were distinctly different: one group joyous, the other void of emotion. Both will fall asleep before their heads hit the pillow.
“It was a real dogfight out there,” said Goodhue senior Riley Bollum. “They’ve only scored under 60 points twice this year. And to go out there and hold them to 38 points, I mean, we played out hearts out out there.”
The first half saw just 13 made field goals, and a combined 29 points in 18 minutes. It wasn’t a bad showing from the offenses. Rather, both defenses swarmed the entire court. R-P picked up the Wildcats on the baseline, and Goodhue used the same tactic. Simply, there was little room to maneuver on offense.
“We wish we would have cleaned up the turnovers in the first half,” said Goodhue head coach Matt Halverson. “We had 12 turnovers in the first half. We preach about having empty possessions, and unfortunately we had 12 turnovers, we had 12 opportunities where we didn’t (have the chance) to score. But the kids played hard.”
The Wildcats tied the game early in the second half, scoring on back-to-back possessions. Austin Buck hit a jumper, and Tyler Schumacher made one of two free throws to even the score at 16-16.
But the Trojans scored the next nine points, including 3-pointers from Austin O’Hare and Charlie Krambeer.
Tyler Schumacher scored from beyond the arc to stop the run, but Goodhue was forced to foul minutes later after the Trojans were able to run more than a minute off the clock,
Rushford-Peterson hit 11 of 15 free throws in the final 2 minutes, 52 seconds to seal the victory, even as the Wildcats desperately tried to extend the game.
“Any time that you’re down by so many points, they’re not dumb, they know we have to shoot 3(-pointer)s,” Halverson said. “They’re going to cover the permiter more, and that makes the 3-pointer tougher to make. So we just talked about trying to attack inside then kicking out, trying to get them to collapse a little bit. But, even then, they’re very quick and they can close out on shooters.”
The Trojans, who won a state title in 2006 after a championship-game appearance in 2005, will appear in their third-straight, and 13th–overall state tournament appearance under coach Tom Vix, who also coached Rushford to a 1989 state title.
Goodhue, meanwhile, has just two section championships to its credit, in 2004 and 2011. The Wildcats won’t have to start over next winter, but three seniors will have to be replaced. And it will be more difficult to replace the qualities that the scorebook doesn’t keep track of.
“I seriously could not have asked for a better group of seniors,” Halverson said. “You got some new coach coming in, replacing a guy that’s been there for 11, 12 years, and they could have said, ‘We don’t believe in this guy.’ But, the seniors bought in. That was our leadership. Then the juniors start to buy in (and) the sophomores followed. I mean it, I could not have asked for a better group of seniors.”