Girls Basketball: First-half run puts Goodhue past Randolph
GOODHUE - With a top 10 ranking in Class 1A all season and the No. 2 seed in the Section 1A-West playoffs, the Goodhue girls basketball team knows it's going to get every team's best effort.
And early on in Thursday's second-round game against visiting Randolph, the 5th-ranked Wildcats were caught off-guard by the cagey Rockets.
"They definitely gave us their all, and we expected it," said Goodhue junior Mikayla Tipcke. "As coach says, 'Every team will give us their hardest.'"
While the slow start kept seventh-seeded Randolph in contention, the Wildcats pulled away with a 21-1 run in a 10-minute span in the first half on the way to a 67-43 victory at Goodhue High School.
"We told our girls, 'It's just a little different speed in the playoffs,'" said Goodhue head coach Josh Wieme, "'a little different intensity, a little different energy level.'"
With the win, the Wildcats (22-5) will meet Lyle/Austin Pacelli at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mayo Auditorium in Rochester.
Jumping in passing lanes and forcing the Rockets into turnovers, Goodhue's defense gave Randolph fits early on. The only thing the Wildcats couldn't do is finish at the hoop, as the team missed multiple chances around the rim. Tied at 5-5, Randolph took a 7-5 lead after a baseline jumper from Carolyn Meyer.
Along the baseline, the Rockets were able to find a hole in the Wildcats' defense in the first half.
"They played really good," Goodhue junior forward Meredith Watson said. "It kind of caught us by surprise."
With 12 minutes, 52 seconds left in the first half, Tipcke tied the game up with a pair of free throws, then Mikayla Miller hit a free throw at 12:10 to give the Wildcats the lead for good.
In the midst of a 9-0 run, Goodhue finally got some offense generated in the paint with Watson scoring two straight baskets on putbacks.
"I think we needed to shoot high," Watson said of the team's early post struggles. "We were shooting too fast, and it started clicking for us eventually."
Wieme said of Watson, who finished with six points and six rebounds, "Meredith's just that kind of energy, intangible player who fills a void when it's needed. Watching her, you see her tip the ball and keep the play going."
After Randolph's Kelsie Jo Endres hit a free throw, Tipcke and Miller spearheaded a 12-0 run that put Goodhue up 26-8 with 3:49 left in the first half.
Tipcke led all scorers with 20 points, including four three-pointers and a left-handed buzzer beater to put the halftime score at 33-17. Miller chipped in with 17 points and seven rebounds.
"Just knowing that they are needed, that's what you got to do," Tipcke said of her 3-point shooting.
The Rockets (8-19) opened the second half on a seven-point run to cut the Wildcats' lead to nine before Tipcke hit another 3-pointer at 15:59. Goodhue held a double-digit lead for the rest of the contest.
"(Randolph) hit shot after shot after shot. We kind of struggled on our end and (Tipcke) had this look of, 'Just give it to me,'" Wieme said. "She buried one and then we were going. She has a feel for the moment like that, where she knows we need a shot and she usually provides it,"
Watson said of Tipcke, "I love it when she shoots. She's a great shooter."
Madi Taylor led the Rockets with 11 points, all in the second half. Meyer added eight points and Jenny Werner dropped seven in the loss.