Wildcats defeat fourth-ranked Spring GroveGOODHUE - Mikayla Miller knew her shots would start falling and in the second half they fell on a consistent basis.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
GOODHUE - Mikayla Miller knew her shots would start falling and in the second half they fell on a consistent basis.
Miller led the second-ranked Goodhue girls basketball team with 29 points in a 53-47 victory over fourth-ranked Spring Grove Tuesday in Goodhue.
19 of Miller’s 29 points came after halftime and she made 7 of 9 free throw attempts. It took Miller a little while to heat up but neither player nor coach was worried.
“There’s a lot of confidence that she has and rightfully so,” Goodhue head coach Josh Wieme said. “We encourage her to keep shooting.”
Miller, a sophomore, said she wasn’t frustrated but knew she needed to be patient and keep making the right plays.
“I knew what I needed to do,” Miller said. “I was rushing. In the second half, I could see where the openings were. Once you make one shot, your confidence rises, which is nice.”
Sophomore Kali Ryan scored nine points for the Wildcats (9-1) and senior Erica Tipcke added eight points including 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Richell Mehus led Spring Grove with 22 points, 15 in the first half. Addy Cross tallied nine points and Nicki Hansen finished with eight points.
The opening half was closely contested as expected between two teams ranked in the top 5 in Class A. The first half had 10 lead changes and four ties.
Miller wasn’t the only one missing shots as the Wildcats misfired on numerous shots inside the lane and trailed 28-25 at halftime.
“They were good shots,” Wieme said. “We were still in a good spot. We know we’re going to make those.”
After the break, Miller and the Wildcats began attacking the basket. They got to the free-throw line and kept the pressure on Spring Grove with tough defense. Goodhue never trailed after 10 minutes, 53 seconds of the second half.
“The effort was just fantastic,” Wieme said. “We forced more turnovers. They make things happen. They’re an aggressive group.”
In the final minutes, Goodhue supplied Spring Grove with an opportunity to cut into the lead by taking ill-advised shots. Miller said the Wildcats are smarter than they showed but overcame mistakes by staying level-headed.
“We need to know what shots we need to take,” she said. “We all know. But we kept our heads really well.”
Wieme said the team’s effort against Spring Grove was impressive but it still needs to be more consistent.
“We had some lapses on defense,” Wieme said. “Our offense is still coming at times. In the first half, we started forcing. Yea, we’re pretty good but we can get better.”
Beating another top team in Class A is a big accomplishment but the Miller said the Wildcats aren’t satisfied.
“This gives us motivation to work our butts off,” she said.
Goodhue gets an extended break, not playing again until the conference opener against Zumbrota-Mazeppa Jan. 3 in Zumbrota.