State Girls Basketball: Wildcats win third-place game
ST. PAUL — Goodhue was still not over its crushing two-point loss to Minneota in the state semifinals. But, the Wildcats were still at state, playing against Mankato Loyola in the third-place game Saturday, so they were going to have fun one more time.
Thanks to a quick 7-0 first-half lead, Goodhue was back to playing its own brand of basketball and ended its trip to state positively with a 74-62 win over the Crusaders at Concordia University-St. Paul.
“It was really hard to pick ourselves up [after the loss to Minneota],” said Wildcats’ senior guard Mikayla Miller, “but we did a great job of doing it.”
“It was great to see because they deserved to win this game and finish with a win,” Goodhue head coach Josh Wieme added. “They deserved to get these medals.”
The seven-point edge was sorely needed for the Wildcats as the Crusaders mounted a comeback. Loyola briefly took its only lead of the game, 13-12 on a free throw by Elizabeth Ninneman at the 12-minute, 32-second mark. Goodhue responded with a 3-pointer from Megan Ryan at 12:08 and never trailed again, although the Crusaders stayed close the entire first half.
“They’re quick and athletic and everyone seemed like they were a threat to shoot the 3 from the outside,” Wieme said of Loyola. “They set some mean screens against our zone and freed some people up. Every time you thought we’d pull away, they’d hit a big 3, or they’d get a steal and get to the basket. They’re a very talented team.”
Tied at 28-28 in the final minute, Megan Ryan hit a jumper with 56 seconds left, then at the buzzer, Miller hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 33-28 halftime edge.
“I have no idea where that came from,” Miller said with a laugh.
Miller’s make before intermission was exactly the kind of lift the Wildcats needed against a cagey Crusader lineup.
“Everybody was jacked and excited after that,” said junior forward Shelby Hinsch. “It just really gave us momentum in the second half.”
As Miller’s half-court heave got the ball rolling for Goodhue, Hinsch helped it pick up speed as she got hot from the outside. Normally finding her points inside the arc, Hinsch stepped behind the 3-point line and hit four 3s in the second half.
“When (the ball) left my hand, I could tell it was going in most of the time,” said Hinsch, who finished with 24 points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
Wieme added, “(Shelby’s) a 3-point shooter, but yeah, not like that. She got hot in a way that you could see the confidence on her face when she shot it. The release was perfect. The basket looked gigantic for her. I think 24 has got to be a career-high for her.”
With Goodhue up 60-48 with 5:50 left, Miller scored the team’s next 11 points, helping to put the game out of reach. Miller capped off an All-State season with a 30-point, five-rebound, five-steal, four-assist effort.
“It’s a great feeling knowing that we ended on a win,” Miller said. “And having such great fans and parents and everyone here, it was better feeling that we made it worth it.”
For their efforts at the state tournament, Miller and Hinsch were named to the Class 1A All-Tournament team.
Lindsey Theuninck had a team-high 19 points, along with eight rebounds for Loyola, which finished the season at 28-4. Megan Schroeder had 12 points, 10 rebounds and three steals in the loss.
In their final game in Wildcats uniforms, Kali Ryan had five rebounds, four assists and four points, and Meredith Watson grabbed three boards and had two assists for Goodhue (27-6).