Boys Basketball: Goodhue locks down BA, heads to 1A title game
By Nick Gerhardt
Special to the R-E
ROCHESTER – The formula’s pretty simple for the Goodhue boys’ basketball team – keep an opponent to 45 points or less and the Wildcats have a good chance of winning.
Top-seeded Goodhue (19-10) did exactly that Saturday in the 1A-West sub-section championship against third-seeded Bethlehem Academy (15-14) for a 48-41 victory at the Mayo Civic Center to advance to the Section 1A championship game.
“We really work hard on our defense and pride ourselves on holding people under 45 points,” Wildcats guard Riley Bollum said. “We haven’t lost a game yet when we hold a team to 45 points.”
Goodhue hasn’t been losing games lately – period. The Wildcats won their seventh consecutive game and will face fifth-ranked Rushford-Peterson (28-1) – which beat Spring Grove 83-65 to clinch the 1A-East sub-section championship earlier Saturday – Thursday at the Mayo Civic Center.
“We know we have a tough opponent in Rushford, but when you’re playing in the section championship, you’re going to run into a tough opponent,” Wildcats first-year head coach and Rushford-Peterson alum Matt Halverson said. “I think our boys will be ready for the challenge.”
Goodhue has held its five of its last six opponents to fewer than 47 points, including the last three to fewer than 42 points.
The victory made up for a 53-47 loss to the Cardinals last season in the sub-section tournament. The Wildcats will return to the section title game for the first time since 2011 when they defeated Rushford-Peterson 58-48 to advance to the state tournament.
“One of our goals at the start of the season was to win the sub-section,” Halverson said. “It’s a goal that we set and accomplished. It’s one thing to set a goal, it’s another thing to accomplish them.”
Halverson will face his alma mater for the first time as an opposing head coach. Halvorson is certainly aware of what the Trojans can do on the court under head coach Tom Vix.
“Some of the things we do are remnants of what he did,” Halverson said. “It’d be stupid for me not to include stuff that he did. I think he’s pretty successful.”
Vix has more than 500 career victories and two state titles in 30 years of coaching.
Goodhue grabbed a 22-15 lead at halftime and led by as much as 11 in the second half after Bollum hit a pair of free throws with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left in the game.
The Wildcats’ zone defense created problems for Bethlehem Academy throughout the game and closed down the lane for standout Kyle Novak.
“We had to stop Novak,” junior Tyler Schumacher said. “He was kind of their main player. When they can’t get it to Novak to drive to the lane they don’t know what to do next.”
The Cardinals crawled back into the game midway through the second half after Brenden Trump made it a 29-24 game with 8:56 left to play.
Goodhue junior Riley Augustine (11 points, seven rebounds) responded on the other end while Schumacher (17 points) and Bollum (12 points) hit shots to build the lead to 10 points with 6:36 left.