Girls Basketball: Goodhue empties bench in win over BA
GOODHUE – Thursday’s Sub-section 1A West quarterfinal between top-ranked and top-seeded Goodhue and Bethlehem Academy was a rout on paper. In reality, well, it was much like the dead trees said it would be. The Wildcats, behind 21 points from Mikayla Miller, easily disposed of the Cardinals, 85-37.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, 11 different players had scored for Goodhue. And the loudest cheers were not for Miller’s seven-straight points near the end of the first half. Nor were the echoing screams at peak volume for the two 3-pointers Michelle Hadler hit in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the game, sparking a 10-0 run.
Instead, much of the yelling was reserved for the second half. There was a shriek when Miller took the floor with her sister, Maddy. There was a good deal of applause when Haley Lexvold scored her first varsity basket with 34 seconds remaining in the game. A similar response greeted Brittney Ryan’s free throw eight minutes earlier.
It was, in many ways, a testament to the starting five that those girls got the chance to play. Against an overmatched opponent, the Wildcats never let off, taking leads of 17-2, 27-5 and 51-17 in the first half.
“(That was) our pregame talk: we’ve got to be our team. We’ve got to play a Goodhue Wildcat basketball game. We’ve got to be focused on defense, and disciplined on defense and not taking silly gambles and lunging around,” said Goodhue head coach Josh Wieme. “And they did. They were very focused, and they were ready. And that was great to see.”
The effort from the Wildcats was evident from the beginning, but it was underscored at the end.
Once the clock hit 9:00 in the second half, there was no stopping it. But there would be no such restriction on the Goodhue bench. As player after player was cycled in, those left on the bench – namely those usually playing as the clock neared zeros – made more noise than they had the rest of the year combined.
After all, it’s not often sisters four grades apart get to occupy the same floor at the same time.
“The (second) team has been giving us their all the past how many weeks, giving us a great group to go against getting ready for playoff games,” Mikayla Miller said. “It was really nice to see them get paid back and get time. It was a really special moment to play with my sister, and have her score with me (on the floor). It was cool.”
For Wieme, “cool” might have been seeing the way his reserves attacked the game much in the same way as his starters. Lexvold came away from the scorers table in a stroll, nothing like the tornado she would be for the final three minutes.
“It was an opportunity for those younger girls to get out and play, and I think it gives them confidence when we’re cheering them on,” said Kali Ryan, who scored 11 points in the victory.
Mikayla Miller and Kali Ryan were the only two Wildcats in double figures, but with nine other teammates scoring, Goodhue didn’t need much else.
Now the Wildcats have to focus on a sub-section semifinal, a game that will no doubt be tougher than Thursday’s affair. But Goodhue should be ready. Just before the team took the floor for the second half, Wieme told his girls to see the Cardinals wearing the uniform of second-seeded Lyle/Austin Pacelli.
“We kept thinking, ‘Pretend this is your game to get to state,’” said Goodhue’s Meredith Watson. “Pretend this is our goal-game. Because we need to work as hard every single game, every practice, so we can beat the team that is going to point out our weaknesses and make us work our hardest because we really want to get to the main goal.”
The next step toward that goal is Monday, when the Wildcats (23-5) face either fourth-seeded Southland (15-10) at 6 p.m. at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.