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Goodhue's Michelle Hadler goes up for a layup during the Wildcats' 74-39 Sub-section 1A West semifinal victory over Southland Monday night. Hadler scored 19 points in the victory, which sends Goodhue to the sub-section final against Blooming Prairie Saturday afternoon. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)
Goodhue's Michelle Hadler goes up for a layup during the Wildcats' 74-39 Sub-section 1A West semifinal victory over Southland Monday night. Hadler scored 19 points in the victory, which sends Goodhue to the sub-section final against Blooming Prairie Saturday afternoon. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)

Girls Basketball: Goodhue clamps down, moves into sub-section final

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Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

ROCHESTER – The top seed and an undefeated section opponent were 72 minutes of basketball away from one of the more intriguing matchups of the season.

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Goodhue, ranked first in Class 1A, had to face fourth-seeded Southland Monday in the sub-section 1A-West semifinals. Lyle/Pacelli, the No. 2 seed in the bracket, would face third-seeded Blooming Prairie 30 minutes after the Wildcats and Rebels squared off.

Goodhue, after a dismal offensive start to the game, rode its defense to a 74-39 victory over Southland.

“We just kept the intensity up, and we were hungry,” said Goodhue’s Michelle Hadler. “We just got at it.”

With 7 minutes, 7 seconds left in the first half, Goodhue finally got on a roll. Kali Ryan scored four straight points, Megan Ryan answered with a 3-pointer, Mikayla Miller hit a layup, and Hadler knocked down her second 3-pointer of the game. A six-point lead had grown to 29-9, and the Wildcats were well on their way to another postseason rout.

But the Rebels had other ideas, ending the half on an 8-0 run, and then scoring the first four points of the second half.

Goodhue would not let Southland any closer than that, however, as Kali Ryan, Miller, Hadler and Meredith Watson ran the Rebels out of the gym.

“The first half, our offense wasn’t going, and our defense, we were all working well as a team (with) ball pressure,” Miller said. “The second half, the first four or five minutes, we just decided to come out and make it a point that they were not going to come back and make it a game. We got super-aggressive and it paid off.”

The Wildcats’ defense seemed to catch a huge spark when Hadler picked up a steal at center court, which turned into an easy layup that was the second basket in what turned out to be a 12-0 run that pushed Goodhue’s advantage to 16 points.

“I thought Michelle, she has these quick hands, and she had the one where she just took it and went, and it’s just fun to watch her grow up. Every week you notice improvement in her,” said Goodhue head coach Josh Wieme. “And she hit some big threes in there. Eventually, we were going to settle down. We tried to stay disciplined on defense, and it caught up with (Southland), I guess.”

Miller led the Wildcats with 22 points, with Hadler, and her four 3-pointers, close behind with 19. Watson was the third and final Goodhue scorer in double digits with 12.

But the long-anticipated matchup against Lyle/Pacelli will only play out in dreams as the Awesome Blossoms upset the Athletics, 73-62, in the nightcap. Goodhue (23-5) will now face Blooming Prairie (19-7) with a trip to the section final on the line. A little more than a month ago, the Wildcats beat the Blossoms, 73-47.

Saturday’s sub-section final tips off at 2 p.m. at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

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