Girls Basketball: Goodhue cruises past River Falls
In the first game of the 2012-13 season, the Goodhue girls basketball team was pressing.
Goodhue wasn't panicked, but the Wildcats' frantic pace offered all sorts of anxiety for its opponent: River Falls.
Ranked second at the end of last season, Goodhue showed no slowdown in its season debut Friday, blowing out River Falls 71-36 in the first round of the Red Wing Tip-Off Tournament.
Jumping to a 50-24 halftime lead, Wildcats head coach Josh Wieme was surprised at how strong his team came out.
"A lot of those players have done a lot of (pressing)," Wieme said, "but we were a little sharper than I thought we would be."
The junior trio of Mikayla Miller, Mikayla Tipcke and Kali Ryan helped the Wildcats jump out to a 14-6 lead before River Falls scored the next seven points, capped off by a 3-pointer from Lexi Knotek to cut the score to 14-13.
That would be the closest River Falls would come to the lead, as Goodhue scored 11 of the next 13 points. Meridith Watson ended the first half on a high note for the Wildcats with a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Miller sparked the Wilcats' surge, scoring 17 of her game-high 21 points in the first half. Ryan wasn't far behind with 10 first-half points.
"She should be that second scorer for us that we can rely on consistently to score in double digits," Wieme said of Ryan. "She was fantastic today. ... I think Kali can be our 'Miller light,' so to say."
Tipcke chipped in with nine points, all in the first half. She narrowly missed a double-double in the season opener, adding nine assists and six steals.
While River Falls tried to adjust to Goodhue's press, Wieme said his team worked just as hard to stop the counters, resulting in 15 steals.
"I thought they adapted a lot of different ways and we would adapt to that," Wieme said.
The Wildcats' press proved to be just as suffocating in the second half, as Goodhue went on an 18-3 run, holding onto a 68-27 lead following a layup by Shelby Hinsch.
"The press and the pressure wear on a team," Wieme said. "Their heads started hanging at the end of the first half."
In the tournament championship, Goodhue will take on host Red Wing at 2:30 p.m.