Girls Basketball: Goodhue runs away from L-P, to play for section title Friday
ROCHESTER – Goodhue knows the feeling of being the favorite. The Wildcats also know what it's like to be behind Lyle-Pacelli in a playoff game.
Last year, Goodhue made one of the greatest comebacks those in attendance had likely ever seen. Saturday's Sub-section 1A West final wasn't quite as crazy, but it was just as chaotic.
Goodhue would eventually overcome a lack of scoring to secure a spot in Friday's section championship game with a 52-43 win over the Athletics.
“That tension was the entire game, it felt very, very tense,” said Wildcats head coach Josh Wieme. “Their length and aggressiveness caused us a lot of trouble. They got a lot of tipped passes. We didn't get comfortable for a long time. It took a couple shots to fall in the second half, and our defensive success paying off a little to settle in.”
Trailing 22-20 at the break, Goodhue scored 14 of the next 18 points, and L-P never got closer than six points after.
“We weren't boxing out,” said Wildcats guard Mckenzie Ryan, who finished with seven points. “We'd go on a run, then we'd give up a turnover that we usually don't, or we wouldn't box out and give up a couple of rebounds and score.”
Goodhue's Maddy Miller shrugged off a fist half plagued with fouls and missed shots to score a game-high 17 points, 15 of which came after halftime. And much of that came in the first six minutes of the second half where Miller hit a 3-pointer and added three other shots to give the Wildcats a 34-35 lead.
“We had a number of struggles in the first half, but being that experienced team, we came out of the locker room to make some plays and play like we're capable of,” Wieme said. “And we absolutely did that right off the bat. It's not Xs and Os, it's just girls making plays. The leadership and experience and the seniors stepped up.”
Miller and Ryan are half of the four seniors that get a lot of time on the floor. And the two others made their impact as well with Megan Ryan scoring nine points on three 3-pointers, and Haley Lexvold providing her usual defensive pressure.
“We've been paying together for a while now, so we have that experience,” Ryan said. “But when it's your time, you need to step up.”
The top-seeded and defending state champion Wildcats (24-4) have one more game to win to return to state, and that's at 6 p.m. Friday against East sub-section champion, and fifth-seeded Fillmore Central (17-12).
Goodhue will surely bring its frenetic pace and calm demeanor to the Mayo Civic Center.
“We kind of do practice that. We practice fast, fast, fast, but under control. Fast, fast, fast, but with some composure,” Wieme said. “It's a hard thing to practice, but to do it in front of so many fans and with the biggest of stakes, really speaks to the character of the kids. They're calm when it matters, and they can turn it on and they're full-go when it counts.”
There's one more thing that the Wildcats will be doing on the floor when they face the Falcons for another section title.
“Play as hard as you can,” Ryan said. “Don't underestimate the (opponent), and go out and have fun.”