Goodhue hangs on, just barely against Cotter girls
A big second-half comeback by Winona Cotter came up just short against No. 1 seed Goodhue in the Section 1AA girls basketball semifinals.
ROCHESTER — What looked to be shaping up as another comfortable win for No. 1 seed Goodhue, turned into a win all right.
But No. 4 seed Winona Cotter used a wildly inspired second half to make sure there was absolutely nothing comfortable about it.
“They put a press on us that we really weren’t expecting,” Goodhue star Tori Miller said.
Goodhue won 57-53, allowing it to reach the section final. It faces No. 3 seed Caledonia at 8 p.m. Thursday as the Wildcats attempt get to the state tournament.
But if Cotter ever felt like it had itself a win — despite not actually winning — this had to be the one.
The Ramblers had been taken apart by Goodhue’s vaunted and lethal half-court traps virtually the entire first half and went into the final stanza trailing 32-21.
From then on, it went to work, hitting Goodhue with the kind of traps that Goodhue unleashed on it those first 18 minutes.
“I am so proud of this team,” said Cotter longtime coach Pat Bowlin, whose team finished 18-10 overall while Goodhue moved to 27-3. “Where we were from the beginning of the year to now, I may have never had a team that has come further than this one. I could not be prouder of their effort and the kind of team they were.”
Again, the first half was completely owned by Goodhue. It was looking like it would be a similar outcome as the only other time these teams met, when the Wildcats won 63-42 on Feb. 7.
On Saturday, it had forced Cotter into 10 first-half turnovers, converting many of those into layups as it unleashed its excellent speed and athleticism.
“Being down by 11 points at halftime, that is not exactly ideal against a team as good as Goodhue,” Bowlin said.
But Cotter has some juice of its own. Led by senior point guard Allyssa Williams (10 points) and sophomore forward Clarissa Sauer (29 points), they unleashed all of it the remainder of the game.
“Cotter got extremely aggressive,” Goodhue coach Josh Wieme said. “They are a quick team. We had to counter that with great fundamentals and we didn’t always do that. But we did it just enough down the stretch.”
Goodhue has two unquestioned stars, senior forward Miller and junior point guard Elisabeth Gadient. Both showed some of that stardom on Saturday, Miller with 17 points and Gadient with 12.
But it was 5-foot-10 senior forward Jada Scheele who provided the real difference in this one.
Considered more of a role player, the strong and physical senior’s role Saturday proved to be to make sure the Wildcats came away a winner.
She did that by converting one big bucket after another, and grabbing a bunch of crucial rebounds. Scheele finished with team highs in both categories — 21 points and 12 rebounds.
“She did that to us last game, too,” Bowlin said. “She was the difference then, too.”
Goodhue 57,Winona Cotter 53
WINONA COTTER (53)
Abby Williams 4 P; Clarissa Sauer 29 P, 3 3-PT; Madison Hazelton 4 P; Ava Killian 4 P; Allyssa Williams 10 P, 2 3-PT; Elanna Kohner 2 P.
Tori Miller 17 P; Kendyl Lodermeier 4 P; Mel Beck 3 P; Elisabeth Gadient 12 P, 1 3-PT; Jada Scheele 21 P.
Halftime: GOOD 32, WC 21.
Free throws: WC 2-2, GOOD 13-20.
Three-point goals: WC 5, GOOD 1.