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Goodhue's Riley Augustine (left) shoots over La Crescent's Zack Kadlec during the second half of Saturday's game at Goodhue. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

Boys Basketball: La Crescent cracks Goodhue's defense

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Boys Basketball: La Crescent cracks Goodhue's defense
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GOODHUE – The calling card for the Goodhue boys basketball team has been its defense. The Wildcats are allowing just 48 points a game, which is tied for fifth best in Class 1A. So when Goodhue went up 30-18 late in the first half against La Crescent on Saturday, it seemed like a good enough cushion to get into the win column.

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Then the Lancers found their scoring touch, and the Wildcats’ defense had no answer as visiting La Crescent pulled away with a 68-56 Hiawatha Valley League cross-division victory.

“We led by over 10 points … and we didn’t get a defensive stop,” said Goodhue head coach Matt Halvorson. “We’ve relied on our defense all year to get us stops and when you don’t get stops, they’re going to narrow down the score and they did. They kept scoring on us and we can’t keep up with teams scoring on every possession.”

The 68 points was the most the Wildcats have given up this season.

“Our defense failed us tonight,” Halvorson said. “It’s not easy to say.”

Early on, Goodhue’s trapping defense was suffocating the Lancers, and with a steady diet of Riley Augustine, Tyler Schumacher and Riley Bollum, the Wildcats built a double-digit lead.

“We usually slow down teams. We try to get the trap and force turnovers at the top,” said Augustine, who shot 7 of 13 from the field for a team-high 19 points along with eight rebounds. “We try to keep the ball away from their best player’s hands and try to get turnovers.

With 2 minutes, 59 seconds left before halftime, a turnaround baseline jumper by Augustine put his team up 30-18.

“He’s been playing well for us,” Halvorson said of Augustine. “Teams are focusing on Schumacher and Bollum, so he’s getting their third defender and he’s taking advantage.”

Despite being down by 12, La Crescent snatched the momentum before halftime, ending the first half on a 9-0 run, cutting Goodhue’s lead to 30-27 at intermission. Then to open the second half, the Lancers scored the first six points to go up 33-30. They never trailed for the rest of the game.

The Wildcats got as close as 44-41 with 9:10 remaining after a layup by Bollum, but La Crescent would not relent. Shooting 64 percent from the field as a team, the Lancers got a game-high 30 points from Zack Melbostad, who became the school’s all-time leading scorer on Saturday.  He has 1,371 career points, not to mention a ringing endorsement from Goodhue’s head coach.

“He’s the best player we’ve played against this year,” Halvorson said. “. You have to guard him on the perimeter, but he’s quick enough where he’s going to try and get by you. He’s very elusive getting to the rim so you can’t get charges called on him. He ran the show.”

Augustine said, “A guy like that, he’s pretty tough to guard and defend.”

Nate Peterson added 18 points and nine rebounds, and Joe Sandvik scored 12 for La Crescent (.

Schumacher finished with 11 points, and Bollum added nine points for Goodhue.

After tough consecutive losses to Cannon Falls and La Crescent, the Wildcats (9-7, 3-7 HVL) host Zumbrota-Mazeppa Tuesday in an HVL Blue matchup.

“We just played against two very good teams … we’ll get it turned around,” Halvorson said. “I have full confidence in this team. Hopefully we can right the ship here.”

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Joe Brown
Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.
(651) 301-7878
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