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Boys Basketball: Thomforde twins bring tenacity to Wildcats' back court

Twin brothers Nicholas and Lucas Thomforde and the rest of the Goodhue boys’ basketball team begin the Class 1A state boys’ basketball tournament at 3 p.m. Thursday at Williams Arena as the No. 2 seed against unseeded Lake Park-Audubon. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

In basketball, whether it’s an organized five-on-five game or a pick-up game of one-on-one, there’s always a winner and a loser. 

Unless you watched Goodhue twin brothers Nicholas and Lucas Thomforde. Their one-on-one games would end another way.

“Usually, they would end in a fight,” Nicholas said. “We’d always fight each other or start wrestling in the grass.”

Lucas added, “Nicholas would win mostly because he was bigger than me and would get more rebounds than me. Usually, it was close.”

The Thomforde twins get heated going against each other. But working together on the court together in the Wildcats’ back court has proven to be a success for state-bound Goodhue as the team prepares for its second-straight state tournament with the Class 1A state quarterfinals beginning at 3 p.m. Thursday at Williams Arena against Lake Park-Audubon.

Aggressiveness may have been a thing that ended “friendly” games of one-on-one. It’s also a defining characteristic for both Nicholas and Lucas in the second-seeded Wildcats’ rotation.

“If you watch us play throughout the year, if there’s a kid diving on the floor, it’s more than likely going to be a Thomforde,” said Goodhue head coach Matt Halverson. “Or if there’s a little guy that comes out of a pile with it, it’s a Thomforde. They have some stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet per se, but they do a lot of things well even though they might be undersized.”

That nose for the ball happened to work against Nicholas during a pre-season scrimmage. Trying to brace his fall after diving for a loose ball, Nicholas broke both bones in his forearm.

Nicholas kept up physically so he wouldn’t be far behind when he was cleared to play. Mentally, it was a frustrating time.

“It was painful. I was mad. I wish I was playing out there with ‘em,” said Nicholas, who averages 4.3 points and 1.7 rebounds per game after missing half of the season. “It sucked sitting on the sideline watching.”

Lucas was one of the players who helped shoulder the load with Nicholas glued to the bench. The opening in the starting lineup provided plenty of time for less experienced players to get varsity minutes, and Lucas elevated his play enough to maintain his starting spot. Lucas is averaging 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while sitting second on the team in 3-pointers (27).

“Lucas, during the season, has been our brightest star. What I mean by that is he’s a guy that could have been a hole in our team but is now one of our most dependable players,” Halverson said. “We know what he’s going to bring each night.”

The Thomforde twins had to bide their time to get to the varsity rotation. Both Nicholas and Lucas saw garbage-time minutes last year as juniors before making the starting rotation as seniors.

“Even though they didn’t see a lot of time on the court last year, they were on the court during JV games the entire time,” Halverson said. “They didn’t complain about doing that, they understood their year was going to be their senior year moreso than their junior year. Both really accepted that role and made strides during the summer and got themselves ready this year.”

State was once again the goal for the Wildcats. And being the two youngest of five boys, Nicholas and Lucas get to follow in their brother Dustin’s footsteps by playing on the state floor. When the twins were in sixth grade, Dustin was a role player for Goodhue’s 2011 state team.

“We kept practicing, hoping to be in the same position he got to be in,” Nicholas said.

Starting together in the Goodhue back court is a new experience for the Thomforde twins. Now, Nicholas and Lucas will get to start together when the Wildcats and Raiders square off at Williams Arena Thursday.

“It’s kind of a shock, really,” Lucas said. “Me and Nicholas never really started together in varsity or any of the other levels.”

And instead of a fight, both Thomfordes hope to leave the state court together as victors.

“It feels good to play together instead of against each other in one-on-one,” Nicholas said. “It’s fun.”

Class 1A boys' basketball at a glance

1. Minneapolis North Polars

Record: 29-2

Rank: 1

vs. the field: 2-0 (Def. Central MN Christian, 55-48; Def. Red Lake, 78-70)

PPG: 83.7 PAPG: 56.7

Leading scorers: Isaac Johnson 21.9; Odell Wilson IV 17.0; JaQuan Sanders-Smith 11.4

State appearances: 21 (1980, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2003 and 2016 state champions)

2. Goodhue Wildcats

Record: 28-3

Rank: 4

vs. the field: 0-0

PPG: 55.2 PAPG: 39.6

Leading scorers: Jacob McNamara 12.6; Ben Opsahl 12.3; Taylor Buck 10.8

State appearances: 4 (No state championships)

3. Central MN Christian Bluejays

Record: 26-3

Rank: 3

vs. the field: 0-1 (Lost to Minneapolis North, 55-48)

PPG: 66.2 PAPG: 43.4

Leading scorers: Ethan Brouwer 14.9; Matthew Van Eps 13.7; Austin Marcus 12.7

State appearances: 3 (No state championships)

4. Nevis Tigers

Record: 28-1

Rank: 2

vs. the field: 2-0 (Def. Red Lake 60-40; Def. Red Lake 67-60)

PPG: 68.0 PAPG: 44.4

Leading scorers: Griffin Chase 21.5; Michael Landquist 13.3; Jack Landquist 11.9

State appearances: 2 (No state championships)

5. Springfield Tigers

Record: 23-7

Rank: 5

vs. the field: 0-0

PPG: 82.7 PAPG: 58.0

Leading scorers: Isaac Fink 23.2; Kale Meendering 15.4; Tanner Vogel 14.5

State appearances: 4 (2011 state championships)

North Woods Grizzlies

Record: 29-1

Rank: N/A

vs. the field: 0-1 (Lost to MIB, 81-64)

PPG: 81.3 PAPG: 49.4

Leading scorers: Cade Goggleye 18.9, Tate Olson 15.4; Brendan Parson 13.6

State appearances: 1

Lake Park-Audubon Raiders

Record: 26-4

Rank: N/A

vs. the field: 0-0

PPG: 67.9

PAPG: 54.6

Leading scorers: Jesse Bergh 23.2; Mitch Hall 15.2; Grant Pederson 12.5

State appearances: 2 (No state championships)

Red Lake Warriors

Record: 25-3

Rank: 6

vs. the field: 0-3 (Lost to Minneapolis North, 78-70; Lost to Nevis, 60-40; Lost to Nevis, 67-60)

PPG: 83.6

PAPG: 55.7

Leading scorers: Jamie Cook 17.0; Rob McClain Jr. 16.7; Kendall Whitefeather 13.9

State appearances: 9 (No state championships)

Schedule

Thursday’s games

Quarterfinals

At Williams Arena

Red Lake vs. Minneapolis North, 11 a.m.

Springfield vs. Nevis, 1 p.m.

Lake Park-Audubon vs. Goodhue, 3 p.m.

North Woods vs. Central MN Christian, 5 p.m.

Friday’s games

Consolation semifinals

At Concordia University

Top quarterfinal losers, 10 a.m.

Bottom quarterfinal losers, noon

Semifinals

At Target Center

Top quarterfinal winners, noon

Bottom quarterfinal winners, 2 p.m.

Saturday’s games

At Concordia University

Consolation final

Consolation semifinal winners, 8 a.m.

At Concordia University

Third-place game

Semifinal losers, 10 a.m.

At Williams Arena

State championship

Semifinal winners, 11 a.m.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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