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Goodhue girls basketball defeats Mountain-Iron Buhl in Class 1A championship

Wilcats Elisabeth Gadient and Kendyl Lodermeier combined for 52 points for the Wildcats

MINNEAPOLIS — The No. 1-seed Goodhue Wildcats defeated the No. 2-seed Mountain Iron-Buhl Rangers 70-65 in the MSHSL Class 1A girls basketball state championship on Saturday at Williams Arena. 

Goodhue Star Elisabeth Gadient led the Wildcats with 31 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Kendyl Lodermeier added 21 for the Wildcats.

"I didn't have the best warmup, and that's when I knew I was going to shoot good," Gadient said. "I wanted to make my last game in a Goodhue jersey memorable, and I think I did that."

Goodhue jumped to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes, and while the Rangers never let the Wildcats build more than a 10-point lead, the Wildcats entered halftime the 

"They were like on person out there," Goodhue coach Josh Wieme said. "They were just one unit moving together, talking together, thinking as one. It was just such beautiful execution of what we tried to set out to do."

Gabby Lira led the Rangers with 21 points. The Wildcats held Mountain Iron-Buhl star Jordan Zubich to 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting. 

"We just didn't want her in open space at all. ... We tried to force her middle so we would jump and switch and get the ball out of her hands that way. In the halfcourt, we wanted either [Lodermeier] or Julia (Carlson) to be that helper rather than help off their wings as much."

For Zubich, it's the end of a strong career that includes a 2023 Class 1A state championship.

"Obviously, this isn't how you want to end your career, but one game doesn't define us and what we've done for this program," Zubich said. "We were a big part of this state championship run last year."

In the second half, the Rangers cut the deficit to three points with eight minutes remaining, and again with three minutes remaining, in the game.

"We got a little rattled and gave them a lot of easy looks," Lodermeier said. "We needed to talk better and calm ourselves down because we didn't have the opportunity to let down at any time."

But the Wildcats always answered with a run to push the lead back toward double digits and take the third championship in school history. 

"The community of Goodhue just keeps giving us good kids to coach," Weime said.

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- Jack Butler | | @Butler917