The Goodhue Wildcats girls basketball team Saturday defeated Hayfield 38-29 to advance to the Section 1A title game next week.  The Wildcats scored 20 points off 25 turnovers in a game that was determined at the free throw line.  Before the contest Hayfield Head Coach Kasey Krekling told KDHL his team had more turnovers than points when they played Goodhue to start the season in early December.  Krekling was confident his team had improved and would be able to handle the Wildcats pressure.

Following the victory Goodhue Head Coach Josh Wieme told KDHL he was proud of his team for grinding out the victory in true Wildcats fashion.  The key for any opponent of Goodhue is to be able to handle their press.  In my opinion it's success is predicated on when they choose to use it.  They have more than one type of press in their arsenal too.

It was a poor shooting night for both teams.  Primarily because both teams defended very well.  Coach Krekling wanted to limit the touches in the post of Goodhue's 6'3 senior post Lexie Lodermeier.  His team effectively did that.  Lodermeier had two field goals finishing with 7 points.  The Vikings also owned the glass with most Wildcats trips ending in one shot and done fashion.  In particular junior 5'7 Rachel Pack dominated the boards.

Coach Wieme said his team had to cover Hayfield sharpshooter Emma Holst well.  Holst had two three point baskets made in the final 2:23 of the game.  The Vikings senior did not find herself open very often.  The Wildcats primarily had 5'9 freshman Joslyn Carlson or 5'10 senior Kate Opsahl close out on the 5'5 Holst.

Goodhue led 18-12 at the half and probably should have had a double digit lead but they were not shooting free throws very well.  The Vikings had 10 turnovers turned into 12 Wildcats points in the first half.

The difference at the free throw line was significant.  Goodhue was 14 of 30 in the game and Hayfield 4 of 5.  The Wildcats were 4 of 12 in the first half and 10 of 18 in the second half.  They were able to knock them down late in the game however with Opsahl going 4 for 4 and Thomforde 3 for 4 in the final few minutes of the game.

Each team had one player in double figures.  For Goodhue, Opsahl finished with 10 points and Hayfield was led by senior Elecia Brown with 14 points.

The Keith Carlson Trucking of Goodhue turnover tally was Hayfield scoring 5 points off 9 Goodhue turnovers and the Wildcats scoring 20 points off 25 turnovers.  Goodhue converted 7 of 10 first half Vikings turnovers into points and 4 of 15 second half turnovers.  The Wildcats victory snapped Hayfield's winning streak at 10 games.

Hayfield finished their season 19-9 after starting the year 2-5.  The Wildcats are 23-6 and will face the hottest team in the section Lyle/Pacelli Thursday night in Rochester for a trip to state.  The Athletics are the defending state champions and were the only team to defeat Grand Meadow this season.  They bested the Super Larks twice in three meetings.

In the Saturday Section semifinal a second shot at the buzzer was the game winner in the 54-52 Lyle/Pacelli win.   Senior Abigail Bollingberg hit the game winner following a missed shot, rebound and pass in the final seconds.

The game was tied at 47 with 3:10 to go.  Athletics junior Olivia Christianson scored 4 points, senior Kayla Christopherson hit a free throw before the Bollingberg heroics in those final minutes.

Lyle/Pacelli captured their 11th straight victory after starting the season 0-2 and are 23-4 heading into the Section Final.  Goodhue and LP were supposed to play in February but were weathered out.

The Athletics new coach Anna Meyer has her team playing very well.  Particularly on the defensive end of the floor.  Lyle/Pacelli fits their name too.  They are an athletic team that looks strong enough to handle Goodhue's pressure.

We'll find out on Thursday night.  I have a hunch Coach Meyer is happy the game is in the more spacious arena.  Tip time is 6:00 p.m.

The Section 1AA game follows with Caledonia going up against Winona Cotter.