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Blossoms wilt in section final

Gabe Hein, Blooming Prairie, basketball, goodhue, news
Blooming Prairie’s Gabe Hein leaps up to block a shot from a Goodhue forward. Hein and the Awesome Blossoms excelled on defense, but it was Goodhue who made more stops when it counted. Staff photo by Johnnie Phillips
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor

No. 1 Blooming Prairie boys basketball fell 47-44 to No. 6 Goodhue in the Section 1A title game in Rochester last weekend, ending the Awesome Blossoms’ dream season one game shy of a state tournament run.

The Wildcats managed to shut down the Blooming Prairie starting five for most of the game, playing a clean, but stingy game on defense while forcing fouls on offense at an alarming rate for Blooming Prairie.

“We didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, I think that was kind of the difference. If we would’ve knocked down a few more threes, we could have won that game. It made it easy for them to key on our post players… We had the height advantage, but they just worked a little harder than we did today,” said Blooming Prairie head coach Cam Rutledge.

Blooming Prairie managed to take a 25-22 lead into halftime as both teams struggled to find space offensively, but the second half told a different story.

Blooming Prairie jumped out to a seven-point lead but also ran up seven team fouls, putting the Wildcats in the bonus quickly.

Ultimately, Goodhue’s three-point shooting and free throws separated the two teams as time wound down.

Both teams exchanged leads, but Goodhue held the 47-44 edge with 56.3 seconds to go.

The Wildcats attempted to burn some time on their first possession with under a minute but came up empty-handed.

Blooming Prairie tried to tie the game, but a missed shot and a foul put Goodhue at the free throw line.

Goodhue’s first attempt at the one-and-one missed, and after a defensive rebound, Rutledge called a Blossoms’ timeout with 10.2 seconds remaining.

Blooming Prairie attempted to get the ball to an open shooter from three-point range but was forced to settle for a contested, awkward look for Gabe Hein.

Hein’s shot hit the backboard and then the front of the rim, but ultimately bounced out.

Goodhue fans erupted as Blooming Prairie was left in shock.

Brady Kittelson led the Awesome Blossoms in scoring with 17 points.

The loss officially ended the Blossoms’ 2023-24 season.

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