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Area Girls' Basketball: 'No greater pain'

Goodhue's Hannah Gadient and Arianna Thomforde embrace after receiving their second-medals. Goodhue fell 40-31 to Minneota in the Class A championship on Saturday, March 16. Martin Schlegel / RiverTowns Multimedia1 / 4
Goodhue's Kate Opsahl lets go a short-range shot during the second half of the Class A championship against Minneota on Saturday, March 16. Martin Schlegel / RiverTowns Multimedia2 / 4
Lexie Lodermeier of Goodhue attempts a pass to teammate Joslyn Carlson during the first half of the Class A girls' basketball championship against Minneota on March 16. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Goodhue's Kate Opsahl and Torrie Rehder apply defensive pressure to Minneota's Abby Hennen. The Wildcats fell 40-31 to the Vikings in the Class A girls' basketball championship on March 16. Martin Schlegel / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

MINNEAPOLIS—Attempting it's second come-from-behind win in less than 24 hours, Goodhue was unable to overtake Minneota's lead. It wasn't for a lack of effort though. The Vikings avoided a late run by the Wildcats.

Much like the previous day's game, Goodhue converted a steal into points. Wildcats Elissa Lodermeier and Torrie Rehder combined for a trap and steal just before midcourt. Kate Opsahl converted the turnover into two points on the other end.

The Wildcats trailed 27-20 after Opsahl's layup. The Wildcats then got to within five points, but a Vikings 3-pointer extended Goodhue's deficit back to eight points.

The Vikings did just enough to stay ahead, drawing a fourth foul from Opsahl and Rehder.

In the final four minutes of the game, the Wildcats were unable to start a run or overcome the Vikings' eight-point lead.

In the end, it was the Minneota Vikings lifting the title in Class A with a 40-31 win at Williams Arena on Saturday.

"We played at a high level from start to finish," said Goodhue head coach Josh Wieme. "Just the way this team took the little bit of experience that all of them got last year and turned it into really good basketball; becoming a really good basketball team. The farther you go in the tournament, the more this loss hurts. There's probably no greater pain than losing this one."

The Vikings played a "hybrid packline" defense that allowed for more outside shots than interior shots or easy layups. Opsahl said the team was not used to playing a team that clogged the middle defensively and collapsed to the paint.

"It's something we haven't seen much this season," Opsahl said. "Most teams play up and over the line, where this team sagged off a little bit. I think that threw us off a little."

Throughout the entire game, the Vikings did an excellent job of rebounding when the team needed it. Minneota head coach Chad Johnson gave credit to his team for not giving the Wildcats any second offensive chances.

"If you have team that doesn't typically score a lot of points on the board, lets not give them second and third opportunities," Johnson said of Goodhue and his team's rebounding. "They got some good looks and shots that didn't go through. We just needed to make sure we got those rebounds."

The two senior Wildcats gave it all they had in their final high school basketball game. Opsahl, who was forced to stay out of foul trouble after picking up three in the first half, scored a game-high 14 points and two steals. Lexie Lodermeier had six points and team-high eight rebounds.

After the game, Lodermeier and Opsahl reflected on the game.

"I'm just very happy we made it here," Lodemeier said. "One of my goals this season was to go to state. I'm really happy about that."

"The team made our senior year a dream come true (in going to state)," Opsahl added.

The supporting cast for the Wildcats did their part too. The team effectively shut down Ms. Basketball nominee Lydia Sussner offensively. Sussner, who averages 17 points per game, tallied just six.

"I thought Lexie was more than capable and the rest of our defensive players were more than capable of holding Sussner to what she had," Wieme said. "We just didn't hit enough shots."

Rehder recorded a game-high five rebounds, while Joslyn Carlson had seven rebounds and two steals.

Goodhue finished the season 26-7 overall.