Crowd spurs Goodhue to victoryGOODHUE - Home court advantage was an understatement Tuesday night in Goodhue as the Goodhue boys basketball team got plenty of help from the crowd as it knocked off fifth-ranked Spring Grove 61-58.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
GOODHUE - Home court advantage was an understatement Tuesday night in Goodhue as the Goodhue boys basketball team got plenty of help from the crowd as it knocked off fifth-ranked Spring Grove 61-58.
Spring Grove had a chance to tie the game 60-60 with 3.8 seconds remaining in regulation but missed two free throws as the roar of the crowd rattled the Spring Grove player.
“That was nice,” Goodhue senior Michael McNamara said. “Home’s always good. We defend our home court.”
Senior Jacob Staehli led the Wildcats (4-2) with 20 points and four assists. In the final minutes, Staehli was a steadying influence by taking care of the ball and making 12 of 12 free throws, including 4 of 4 in the last two minutes.
“Jake’s just really become a leader,” Goodhue head coach Tony Poncelet said. “His composure down the stretch was awesome. We knew he could do it and he’s really stepped up for us.”
Junior Zach Hinsch scored 12 points and had seven rebounds – five offensive – and two steals. He was also given the responsibility of guarding Spring Grove’s Aric Elton, a 2011 AP All-State honorable mention selection. Elton had 12 rebounds and scored 24 points but Hinsch made sure the points did not always come easy.
“He worked his butt off,” Poncelet said. “He was kind of on an island tonight. He had some great defense and rebounds.”
Goodhue junior Tyson Dicke added 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals. McNamara scored eight points on a rough shooting night – he made just 2 of 13 attempts – but grabbed eight rebounds and had two steals.
“We know what we’re going to get from Michael,” Poncelet said. “It’s nice to have some other guys stepping up.”
Eli Gleason added 11 points and three assists for Spring Grove. Jake Kraus had 10 points.
The Wildcats started slow and fell behind 9-2 3 minutes, 46 seconds into the opening half. Poncelet said the atmosphere of the game made Goodhue play wild early on so he called a timeout to settle his players.
“We were playing too fast early,” Poncelet said. “We were trying to run with them. We were making 1, 2 passes and taking a shot. It was a reminder to gather ourselves.”
A different Wildcats team emerged from the time out, flustering Spring Grove into turnovers and attacking the rim on offense. Spring Grove committed 24 turnovers for the game. Goodhue used a 15-0 run in the last four minutes of the first half to take a 33-29 lead into halftime.
The Wildcats’ momentum carried into the second half, pushing their lead to 47-38 with 11:16 left in the game. It was largest lead of the game for either team.
Spring Grove fought back and pulled within three points at 49-46 with 6:06 remaining. During the final two minutes Spring Grove kept within 2-4 points and had a chance to tie the game when Kraus missed the potential game-tying free throws with 3.8 seconds on the clock. After the second miss, Dicke was fouled on the rebound and made 1 of 2 free throws to secure the victory.
Goodhue led the entire second half but needed clutch free throw shooting to maintain its slim lead. The Wildcats made 20 of 28 free throws for the game.
“These guys are growing up fast,” Poncelet said. “Both this game and the Hayfield game are about taking care of the ball and making free throws.”
McNamara said Goodhue isn’t expected to win against top teams like Spring Grove and the Wildcats thrive on that underdog mentality.
“Teams think we can’t come close,” McNamara said. “They look past us and you can’t do that against a team like us. We win with heart and fans. We all play really hard and give it our all.”
Goodhue is off until Jan. 3 when the Wildcats open the conference season on the road against Zumbrota-Mazeppa.