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Goodhue turns back defending champ, wins Class 1A title

Elisabeth Gadient said she didn't have the best warmup.

Then game time arrived.

Her early three-pointers gave Goodhue a six-point lead, and the Wildcats held on until they defeated Mountain Iron-Buhl 70-65 Saturday in the Class 1A championship game of the girls basketball state tournament at Williams Arena.

Goodhue won its third state title in school history; the others were in 2016 and 2017.

Gadient finished with five three-pointers and 31 points, plus nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.

"I wanted to make my last game in a Goodhue jersey memorable, and I think that's what I did," said Gadient, a senior guard committed to Minnesota State Mankato.

Kendyl Lodermeier was a strong second to Gadient. She had 21 points and 12 rebounds, helping achieve a grand goal for Goodhue (28-5).

"It's such a thrill to win that game," coach Josh Wieme said. "When you set off to hopefully do that, it seems like a far-off dream."

Mountain Iron-Buhl's Jordan Zubich, who is committed to North Carolina, found early baskets for everyone but herself, posting five assists that contributed to 13 of the Rangers' 29 points in the first half. But she didn't score from the field until five minutes into the second half and finished with 12 points on 3-for-14 shooting.

"In our first matchup, I was able to score [32 in Goodhue's 67-62 victory on Dec. 29]," Zubich said. "Going into this one, I knew they would be playing a little tighter. I couldn't hit a lot of my shots so obviously they defended pretty well."

Choked up, Zubich called the loss "a tough pill to swallow" but said it wouldn't ruin Mountain Iron-Buhl's 29-4 season.

"Obviously this isn't how you want to end your career, but I don't think this one game defines what we've done in this program," she said.

Mountain Iron-Buhl, the defending champion, teased a comeback, getting within three points with three minutes remaining, but it stopped there.

"[Goodhue's size] made for tough rotations for the size that we have and the defense we play, forcing them into shots, and I give them credit, they hit them," Mountain Iron-Buhl coach Jeff Buffetta said. "Every time we'd hit two, they'd hit one. We couldn't get that extra one or two more."