There were a few tears and lots of hugs today after the Goodhue Wildcats won the State Class A third-place game 51-47 over Springfield.

The seven seniors finished their high school careers with 96 wins.

Taylor Buck and Jacob McNamara told KDHL after the victory it was the way they wanted to end their careers.

They wanted another shot at Minneapolis North in a championship game, but Buck said seeing the support from their community with the large crowd from Goodhue at Concordia University in St. Paul really helped the team get the energy they needed to win.

There were 11 lead changes and nine ties in the game.

You could tell these young men were playing for the third straight day. Both teams struggled from three-point range and were horrific at the free throw line. Goodhue shot 25 percent and Springfield 12 percent from three-point range.

However, the Wildcats had two monster threes down the stretch by Nicholas Thomforde and Ben Opsahl.

Goodhue was 9 of 24 from the free throw line and Springfield 2 of 6. The Tigers were fouling in the final couple minutes because Goodhue was struggling so mightily.

But Jacob McNamara hit a clutch free throw to give his team a four-point lead with just a couple ticks left on the clock, which sealed the victory.

Goodhue brings home the third-place trophy a year after finishing second at state and a week after the Goodhue girls captured their second straight state title.

Tiger turnovers cost them the game. They had 14 while Goodhue had just five.

In Friday's semifinal game, the Wildcats had 14 turnovers or they more than likely would've played for the championship.

Against North Woods of Cook, Goodhue also wondered why they call them free throws, going 10 of 19. During the regular season they were about 70 percent as a team.

Our Goodhue County ADA Wildcats of the game were the seven seniors: Ben Opsahl, Taylor Buck, Jacob McNamara, Lucas Thomforde, Nicholas Thomforde, Noah Hinsch and Julio Parra.

The Zumbrota Sport and Spine defensive player of the game for Goodhue was Ben Opsahl. Opsahl had 19 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 33 minutes.

McNamara had 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes. Buck tallied six points, three rebounds and three assists in 33 minutes. Nicholas Thomforde collected four points, four rebounds and one assist in 33 minutes. Freshman Sam Opsahl had five points, one rebound and two assists.

The H&R Block stat of the game was the 14-4 advantage in points off turnovers for Goodhue.

To show you the heart of these Wildcats, they also had an 11-4 advantage in second chance points.

Goodhue head coach Matt Halverson told KDHL after the game he was definitely feeling emotional after the win because these seniors were freshmen when he became their head coach. He also applauded the Goodhue community for showing their support to the team throughout the season.

McNamara said the coaches were not only terrific coaches but great role models off the court for the team also. I told Jacob, that's the Goodhue way.

Goodhue Coaches Robby Ebner, Matt Halverson and Mark Opsahl- photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Goodhue Coaches Robby Ebner, Matt Halverson and Mark Opsahl- photo by Gordy Kosfeld
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