The Goodhue Wildcat girls basketball team defeated top-rated Mountain Iron-Buhl 73-51 to repeat as Class A state champions today at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.

There were three Tom Heffernan Ford of Lake City keys stats in my opinion.

The Wildcats outscored the Rangers 24-4 in the paint, held a 25-9 advantage at the free throw line and were the Windex ladies on the glass with 45 rebounds compared to 22.

Goodhue led 29-22 at the half and led most of the way.

Moutain Iron-Buhl had two one-point leads in the first half and never led the rest of the way. In fact, their last one-point lead came with 6:21 to go in the half and they would not go ahead the rest of the way.

Senior Maddy Miller led the way offensively again with 21 points in 26 minutes of action. Senior McKenzie Ryan finished with 14 points, going 10 for 10 from the free throw line. Juniors Sydney Lodermeier and Emily Benrud combined for 23 rebounds and 25 points, Lodermeier with 14 points and 14 rebounds and Benrud with 11 points and nine boards. Those four Wildcats all made the All-Tournament Team.

December 3 at the girls basketball showcase at Hopkins High School, Mountain Iron-Buhl crushed Goodhue 78-34.

Head coach Josh Wieme noted throughout the season, that loss, coupled with a double-digit loss to Hayfield 10 days later, gave his team motivation to get better every day.

Wieme told reporters at the post-game news conference winning is simply a byproduct of  the ladies enjoying each other and said they didn't talk about a repeat state title. Each game was another opportunity to extend their experiences together.

Maddy Miller said ending her career at Goodhue with back-to-back titles was "sweet," but not expected. Miller was joined at the front table of the news conference by McKenzie Ryan, Megan Ryan and Sydney Lodermeier.

The girls said the difference between December and March may have been their focus. They were determined to give Mountain Iron-Buhl a better game.

You know Rangers head coach Jeff Buffetta told his team a lot of time had passed since that game in December. When you defeat a team by more than 40 points, you have to be bristling with confidence, don't you? But during warm-ups and the introductions Mountain Iron-Buhl looked tight to me.

Goodhue came right out of the gate and took an 11-3 lead.

With 7:41 to go in the first half, the Rangers tied the game at 16 and took the lead at 6:21 on a three-point basket. Goodhue senior Megan Ryan drained an answer three.

With  5:17 to go, MIB hit a jumper and free throw to take their only other lead of the game 22-21.

After an empty possession for Goodhue, the Rangers turned the ball over, leading to a McKenzie Ryan hoop and free throw. Ryan hit another identical kiss off glass and free throw to punch the lead back up for the Wildcats.

Mountain Iron-Buhl had 52 shots in the game and took 30 attempts from three-point range, most of them well behind the college line. They made 10. In December in Hopkins they drilled 17 three-point baskets.

Goodhue had 44 total shots and were six of 17 from three-point range. You know the old saying, "If you live by the three, you die by the three."

MIB head coach Buffetta told reporters after the game his team did take too many three-point shots but, "Goodhue was a step quicker or something."

Our Goodhue County ADA Wildcats of the game were the five seniors - Maddy Miller, McKenzie Ryan, Megan Ryan, Mikayla Peterson and Kaitlin Buck - along with juniors Sydney Lodermeier and Emily Benrud.

Relive the moment when they one by listening to the broadcast of the game as heard on KDHL.