The Goodhue Wildcat boys basketball team has had an incredible season. The Hiawatha Valley League Blue Division champions are 23-7 heading into Thursday night's championship showdown with the Rushford-Peterson Trojans.

The Trojans are the top-rated team in Class A in Minnesota and haven't lost to a Minnesota team this season. Their only loss was to Gale-Ettrick-Tremealeau of Wisconsin on Dec. 16. Since then, they have beaten state-ranked Class AA and A teams. Watching their victory over Kingsland last Saturday was impressive. Rushford-Peterson appears to be able to play any style. They have the size inside to bang with teams and some athletes on the perimeter that can flat-out shoot.

Head coach Tom Vix has built an incredible program. Since going to a four-class system, his teams are 16 of 19 in subsection championship games and 15 of 18 so far in section title tilts. The Green Machine has tallied a 54-3 record in their past 57 section games.

Goodhue head coach Matt Halverson knows all about it.  He was part of the Trojan run as a player and as an assistant coach. Now he wants to build the Wildcats into a purple machine. Halverson knows his Cats have to play a near-perfect game to knock off his mentor and alma mater.

Goodhue played the Trojans in the same game last year and certainly competed, falling 38-31. That's the kind of score they need, because offensively they don't have the firepower to hang with a Rushford-Peterson team that averages 69.5 points per game. Goodhue's offensive average is 53.4. Only four teams in the 20-team section scored fewer points per game. Halverson has his team buying into a tenacious defense that has allowed just 43.6 points per game -- the best out of the 20 teams. R-P is third at 45.2.

Halverson notes it doesn't take a lot to get the blue-collar Goodhue boys to work hard, play physical, rebound and be patient on offense. The two teams played in Rushford on Feb. 3 and the Trojans won 60-41.

Rushford-Peterson is riding a 24-game win streak and is eying their third state title. They were the best in their class in 1989 and again in 2006. Last season when Vix faced his former pupil in the section final, he told KDHL whatever the outcome he would be proud -- proud of his team and proud of his former team member.

KDHL will broadcast Thursday night's game beginning at 7:45. The game is also available online at kdhlradio.com and by downloading the free Radio Pup app on your favorite mobile device.

 

Coach Tom Vix is the man clapping on the far right