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Another day, another thriller: North Woods on to finals

Patrick Slack
Posted 3/24/17

As the clock wound down, you couldn't help but think it.

Tie game, ball in Cade Goggleye's hands. Something was about to happen.

Something big.

A day after banking in a miraculous half-court …

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Another day, another thriller: North Woods on to finals

Posted

With the clock winding down, you couldn't help but think it.

Tie game, ball in Cade Goggleye's hands. Something was about to happen.

Something big.

A day after banking in a miraculous half-court heave at the buzzer, Goggleye came up clutch again.

With dazzling dribbling and a cut toward the basket, the sophomore guard drew a foul with just 4.7 seconds left, then calmly knocked down a pair of free throws to give North Woods a two-point lead.

Then, the Grizzlies watched Goodhue's buzzer-beater clank off the back of the rim, securing another dramatic North Woods win, this time by a 51-49 margin over second-seeded Goodhue in the Class A state semifinals at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Like in the quarterfinals, North Woods got off to a strong start, quickly erasing a 5-0 deficit with a 20-10 run to go ahead by five late in the half.

The Grizzlies would go into the break ahead 26-24, then the two teams stuck close the rest of the way.

Goodhue used another short 5-0 run to go ahead 41-37 with 7:34 to play, but a free throw by Goggleye and a corner three by junior Tate Olson knotted the score at 41-41 half a minute later.

The North Woods run would continue with a layup and free throw by junior Brendan Parson, then another two free throws by Goggleye to make it 46-41 Grizzlies with 3:42 remaining.

Goodhue hung tough, leveling the score at 49-49 with 1:44 remaining.

North Woods then tried to run down the clock on the perimeter while fending off a swarming Goodhue defense, desperately saving its possession on a loose ball scramble with 34 seconds to go.

The Grizzlies called timeout, then went back into ball control mode, with Goggleye finally drawing a foul in the closing seconds and hitting both free throws.

"I was thinking, 'Either we go to the state championship or we go to third place. And I didn't want third,'" Goggleye said.

Goodhue inbounded and sprinted the ball to mid-court, calling its final timeout with 2.3 seconds left.

But despite getting the ball at the free-throw line to its top scorer Jacob McNamara, who closed with 16 points, Goodhue came up empty at the buzzer, setting off another North Woods celebration.

"I think we covered it as well as we planned," Kleppe said. "We weren't sure exactly who was going to take that last shot. We had some thoughts about some of the other guys - #55 stepped out on a well-drawn play. When he let it go I thought it was a little off line.

"In that timeout, there was no sense of panic. We're just going to play defense here, the pressure's on them to make it."

Olson picked up where he left off in the quarterfinals, sinking 6-of-9 threes in accumulating a team-high 20 points.

"I can't stress enough how good of ballhandlers Cade and Brendan are, setting people up for great opportunities to score," Olson said. "It felt good. I was getting in a rhythm and everything was just in a flow."

Parson also provided key scoring, especially in the early stages of the game, scoring 13 points.

Goggleye finished with nine points, freshman Trevor Morrison stepped up in a big way with senior George Bibeau battling foul trouble, dropping in five points and helping contain McNamara, while Bibeau scored four.

Sophomore Chase Kleppe played all but one minute, delivering nine rebounds and stout defense.

The Grizzlies only committed four turnovers, while generating 14 on the part of Goodhue.

"Just tremendous poise on behalf of our perimeter guys, handled the ball very well," Kleppe said. "Made great decisions with it. And they knew they had to."

Despite only one senior and no prior state tournament experience, the Grizzlies demonstrated remarkable poise setting the thrills of yesterday aside and getting focused on today's game.

"There were certainly a lot of emotions that went with yesterday's game and a lot of attention afterward," Kleppe said. "Not too often you turn on any TV station and see the play replayed again and again. But the boys handled it very well. We got back to the hotel, we went out to eat, there was talk about everything but basketball.

"As we went to shootaround this morning and prepared for today's game, there was very little talk about. They were very focused on today.

"Not surprised, just based on what we did all year," Kleppe said. "These guys have tremendous confidence in their abilities. They don't rattle."

Now, the unseeded Grizzlies advance to take on top-seeded and defending state champion Minneapolis North Community on Saturday at 11 a.m., again at the Target Center.

"We're going to prepare like we did for every other game," Kleppe said. "We're going to put match-ups together, we're going to make a plan and go in there and do our best to execute. A formidable task, but I think these guys are very happy with the opportunity to go in there."

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