The Goodhue Wildcats and Zumbrota-Mazeppa Cougars saw their seasons come to an end Wednesday night at the Rochester Mayo Civic Center.  The #10 seed Class 1A Wildcats fell to #2 seed Spring Grove 60-42 while the #6 seed Class 1AA Zumbrota-Mazeppa Cougars were defeated by the #3 seed Byron Bears 41-36.

Both teams nearly pulled off upsets using similar game plans.  Being very patient on offense, defending well and showing tenacity on the glass.  Goodhue played a nearly perfect half going into the break tied at 17.  Zumbrota-Mazeppa had a 24-21 lead at the half.

The pace was exactly where Goodhue needed it to be in order to pull off the upset of the 22-5 Lions and they were able to keep it that way for most of the game.  About a five minute scoring drought in the second half coupled with a few turnovers that Spring Grove turned into points pushed the lead to double digits for the Lions and they never looked back.

Spring Grove was missing a lot of close shots in the first half and their leading scorer Alex Folz was not looking to score.  While the team was warming up for the second half Folz sat in a cushioned chair next to his coach Wade Grinde and I'm guessing the coach told the 5'10 junior with over 11 hundred career points they needed him to step up with more offense.

Folz did just that with four second half threes and 16 second half points to lead the Lions to victory.  He finished with 20 points on the night and three other teammates were in double figures.  6'5 senior Sam Sanness had 14 points, 6'2 senior Adin Solum and 6'4 junior Ethan Matzke had 10 each.

Goodhue couldn't keep pace with that kind of firepower.  The Wildcats had just one player in double figures, senior Mitchell Schrimpf with 13 points.  6'3 senior Mitchell Hemenway added 9 points, 6'3 sophomore Sam Opsahl and 5'9 junior Dawson Evenson each had 7 points.

The two-time defending Section Champion Goodhue Wildcats ended their season with a 11-17 record.  The 23-5 Spring Grove Lions will roar up against #11 seed Lyle-Pacelli Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.  The Athletics upended #3 seed Wabasha-Kellogg 73-61 in the Auditorium.

Lyle-Pacelli is 15-10 and Wabasha-Kellogg ends their season 15-12.

The other Class 1A semi-final game at 11:00 a.m. features #1 seed Rushford-Peterson against #5 seed Kingsland.

In the more spacious arena Zumbrota-Mazeppa had just two players score in the second half and had trouble hitting shots.  It was still a one possession game until 6'2 Byron senior Michael Coble hit two free throws with 6.7 seconds to seal the win for the Bears.

Both teams had five three point baskets in the game.  The Bears were 6 of 7 from the free throw line and the Cougars 3 of 6.  Byron had 7 second half field goals and Zumbrota-Mazeppa 4.

There were no Bears in double figures.  6'8 senior Kaden Koski had 9 points including a go-ahead bucket with 28 seconds to go in the game.

6'0 senior Luke Barth hit two big three pointers in the second half and finished with 8 points and Coble had 7 points.

The Cougars finished a great season 20-7 and just happened to be in the toughest section in the state.

Byron is now 23-6 and will play the defending Section Champion Lake City Tigers Saturday at 8:00 p.m.  The Bears beat the Tigers 57-55 in Lake City and lost to them in Byron 74-71.

Lake City defeated Stewartville in the other quarterfinal round Class 1AA game 53-45.

The other semi-final features top seed Caledonia (24-4) and St. Charles (24-4).  The two teams played January 4th in St. Charles with the Saints marching to a 79-75 victory.

That game will begin 5:00 p.m.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa Season Ends in Mayo Civic Arena. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Zumbrota-Mazeppa Season Ends in Mayo Civic Arena. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

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