Girls Basketball: Goodhue rolls, sets up showdown with Lyle-Pacelli
ROCHESTER – Another 20-win season, the top seed in the Sub-section 1A West tournament and a No. 2 ranking in the Class 1A polls all have Goodhue as a favorite to return to the state tournament and, possibly, to win back-to-back championships.
But to get there, the Wildcats need to get through the section. On Tuesday, Goodhue took the second step in that journey with an 82-36 evisceration of Bethlehem Academy at the Rochester Civic Center.
The Wildcats scored the first 13 points of the game, led 37-10 with 7 minutes, 25 seconds to play in the first half, and carried a ridiculous 61-15 advantage into halftime.
In the first 90 seconds, Goodhue scored 10 points, eight of which were the result of steals by Maddy Miller, who finished with eight takeaways.
“The guards at the top, we were really aggressive, almost over-playing,” Miller said.
The press that Goodhue employs is difficult under the best of circumstances, but if a team has not seen it live, it can end a game before players break a sweat.
“I think (BA) got a little shell-shocked right away,” said Wildcats head coach Josh Wieme. “It was like the state semifinal last year, where a team wasn't totally prepared for it and our girls were very focused and had a lot of energy. And let's face it, Maddy is a devil out there. She anticipates passes in a way that if you're not ready for it, or haven't seen it, she'll get four steals in a minute-and-a-half.
“I've told Maddy a number of times that the team goes as she does. She sets the tone at the top of the press, and we count on her to score.”
Miller did score as well, tying for the team lead with 16 points. Sydney Lodermeier also had 16, with Emily Benrud adding 11. And many of those points were layups. Goodhue shot 66 percent for the game, and that includes the final 9:38 when the Wildcats scored just two points with the end of the bench soaking up playing time in the blowout. Wieme said the percentage was closer to 75 with the starters and primary backups in the game.
Goodhue lost two of its final seven games of the regular season, and has had a few games where the team looked far from the defending state champions.
But five-straight easy wins seems to have the Wildcats back in that title conversation.
“It's important that we talk about energy and focus. It's cliché, but as the season has gone on, our energy and focus has been up and down. Right now it appears we have it,” Wieme said. “We started each half very well, that was important. And just getting some shots in this building...But every step gets tougher.”
Up next for Goodhue (23-4) is Lyle-Pacelli (22-6), at 8 p.m. Saturday, back at the Civic Center. The Wildcats watched the first half of the Athletics' 57-22 victory over Grand Meadow, but Wieme admitted it was mostly for fun.
“We're familiar with Lyle, and they're familiar with us,” Wieme said. “I don't know if we'll learn anything new, but it will be fun to just watch them and imagine us playing them next.”
Of course, L-P will be looking for a version of revenge after the Athletics' blew a massive lead in the waning minutes last year. Perhaps L-P learned a lesson about clock management, but Goodhue isn't betting on anything. The Wildcats will want to come out flying.
“Last year was crazy. Hopefully it won't be that intense,” Miller said. “Not easy, just not shaking the entire time.”