Josh Wieme has created something truly special with Goodhue girls basketball

Mar. 16—MINNEAPOLIS — Athletic programs of this stature are no accident. They are a creation.

Goodhue girls basketball had a quality history before Josh Wieme showed up. But in his 16 years as its head coach, the 47-year-old Wieme has taken it and crafted it into something truly special.

This week, Goodhue was playing in the state tournament for the ninth time under his watch. Saturday, the Wildcats put on a display that had Wieme wearing a massive grin and shaking his head in reverence and pride.

Wieme could hardly believe his eyes, his team having played better and more together than he'd seen it all season, and its two biggest stars playing as such in a 70-65 Class 1A championship game victory against Mountain Iron-Buhl at the University of Minnesota's Williams Arena.

It gave Wieme his third state title as Goodhue's girls basketball coach. The Wildcats also won it all in 2016 and 2017.

And the belief is, they may just be getting started.

Being a Goodhue girls basketball player is all the rage. Wieme says there are countless young girls in that town pining to be the next Elisabeth Gadient or Kendyl Lodermeier. Two of them live in his house, seventh-grade daughter Kate and fifth-grade daughter Jenna.

"They look at these (Goodhue varsity players) as heroes, as idols," Wieme said. "They want to be just like them. I see it first hand. They are at the age now where they want to be the next ones."

The two drawing the most attention Saturday and all season were Gadient and Lodermeier.

Senior and two-time All-State guard Gadient had 31 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals in Saturday's title win. She'll play next year at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Junior All-State forward Lodermeier also had her fingerprints all over this championship-game win with 21 points and 12 rebounds. In two years, she also seems a lock to be playing college basketball.

That's to name just two of Goodhue's standouts from Saturday and all season. Their ages ranged from seniors to freshmen such as fast and darting twins Lola and Aubrey Christianson. At Goodhue, the talent and the will to be great just keeps coming.

So does their zest for life, which has Wieme coming back more than anything.

"These kids are a lot of fun to coach," Wieme said. "They're great off the court as well. These last few days, at the state tournament, these are the funnest times because we are joking around more and you just get more opportunities (and time) to do it. The community of Goodhue just keeps sending us great kids to coach. That is why I keep doing this."

Upon arrival, Wieme knows what to do with them. The work starts early.

"The way he starts us young really helps," said 2,000-point scorer Gadient. "He emphasizes us getting in the gym in our free time, or even just getting in time in your driveway. Plus, it's all the camps that he runs. His drills are very effective."

Lodermeier will be the Wildcats' undisputed go-to player next year and often took turns being that with Gadient this season.

Lodermeier is certain that there'll be little dropoff in 2024-25, despite the graduation of Gadient and fellow senior starter Julia Carlson.

Goodhue's investment in girls basketball is too great to figure on anything less than greatness all over again.

Wieme, the craftsman, has created something special.