Girls Basketball: Wildcats stifle Z-M in the second halfZUMBROTA – Zumbrota-Mazeppa stuck with Goodhue for the first 25 minutes Tuesday.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
ZUMBROTA – Zumbrota-Mazeppa stuck with Goodhue for the first 25 minutes Tuesday.
It was the last 11 minutes that were an issue.
“I was very happy until it got to the 10-minute mark,” said Z-M head coach Scott Paukert.
But with the Wildcats only leading 36-31 with 11 minutes, 43 seconds remaining, they took control on both ends of the court and coasted to a 55-35 victory.
“Especially the last 10 minutes, we struggled offensively,” Paukert said. “Just their quickness wore us down a little bit.”
Fourth-ranked (1A) Goodhue held Z-M to just two field goals in those final minutes.
“That was fantastic,” Goodhue head coach Josh Wieme said. “Our kids are smart and they figure things out. They figured out what (Z-M) was doing. In the first half, they were throwing those lobs and we were a half a second slow. … We figured out how to step it up another notch in the second half.”
Mikayla Miller led all scorers with 15 points and also had a game-high 14 rebounds for the Wildcats (8-1, 1-0 HVL Blue). Meredith Watson finished with 11 points, three rebounds and two steals.
Hailey Dykes was the Cougars’ only player in double figures with 10 points. Alyssa Stehr provided six points, three rebounds and a steal in the loss.
Both teams played Tuesday without impact starters as Goodhue’s Mikayla Tipcke missed the game with an illness and Z-M’s Geena Miller is out with a dislocated shoulder.
“She’s our best defensive player,” Paukert said of Tipcke. “She’s out best hustler.”
In Tipcke’s absence, Mikayla Miller took on more of a playmaking role in the Wildcats’ victory.
“I thought one thing that she did tonight, and maybe it wasn’t in Kayla’s absence, it seemed like she was creating a little more,” Wieme said. “That’s something that Tipcke does really well. (Miller) looked to create a little more. She didn’t take it as she had to score more. She has good vision.”
Z-M (1-6, 0-1 HVL Blue) held a 4-2 lead early in the first half but Kali Ryan gave Goodhue a 7-4 lead with 12 minutes, 26 seconds left in the first half, and the Wildcats never trailed the rest of the way.
Goodhue led 29-23 at halftime as both teams had seven different players score.
“We have had good balance,” Wieme said. “I know people look at our team and see Mikayla Miller … but we have good balance and tonight was no different.”
The Cougars cut the lead to five points early before the Wildcats’ defense took over and sealed the win. Paige Gadient played an integral role in Goodhue’s defensive productivity Tuesday as she pressured Z-M’s guards and didn’t allow the Cougars to set up their offense efficiently.
“I thought she had a great impact on our defense and the spark she gave us with her quickness and her work ethic,” said Wieme. “We’ve gone against teams where you’re starting your offense where you don’t want to. Disrupting is a great word for that and Paige did it really well.”
The Wildcats also held a wide advantage at the free-throw line where Goodhue shot 19-for-24 and Z-M made only 1 of 5 attempts.
“They go to the basket so well,” Paukert said. “When you make one free throw and they make 19, it’s going to be tough to come away with the ‘W.’”
The Cougars will attempt to snap their four-game losing streak Thursday when they host Pine Island, the team Z-M knocked off in the Section 1AA playoffs last year en route to the state tournament. Goodhue hosts Kenyon-Wanamingo Friday.