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BBE's Brian Goodwin, right, drives to the basket against Southwest Minnesota Christian's Zach Huisken during the first half of the Class A state championship game Saturday at Target Center. Tribune photo by Tom Larson.

BBE finally wins its big game

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By Rand Middleton

MINNEAPOLIS -- In the 100th year of the school-boy tournament, one team was perfect.

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From start to finish, only this team went unconquered.

The fans from three small towns that combine to form the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa schools celebrated that fact at the Target Center with their Jaguars early Saturday afternoon.

Their team had somehow managed to overcome a lineup that was much their equal.

No. 1 BBE had topped No. 2 Southwest Minnesota Christian School 54-45 for the Class A championship.

The Jaguars finished 33-0, even though they play in a largely AA conference. Moreover, the 2011 runners-up compiled a 65-1 record over two seasons.

"That's the best team we've played this year," said BBE head coach Dave Montbriand (328-164, 19 seasons). "They made it so difficult to run our offense."

The 54 points were a season-low for the Jags, who averaged 76 per game coming into the state picture.

The Eagles, 28-1 after dispatching Rushford-Peterson in the semifinals on Friday, made the Jaguars work for every scoring opportunity.

With the playbook nearly useless, Brian Goodwin went into freelance mode.

Swiftly weaving and slicing his way to the basket, the 6-foot-3 sophomore scored 29 points. He was 10 of 17 from the field and 9 of 10 at the line.

"If we didn't have a kid like that we don't win this game," concluded Montbriand.

The Eagles led 30-26 at halftime behind the play of 6-foot-9 senior center Zach Huisken. He had 9 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks by intermission.

By halftime, Connor Goodwin, BBE's agile 6-foot-7 post, had gotten free for just 4 points and had only 2 rebounds against the Eagles' tight defense.

But all season and all tournament, the Eagles had responded with the chips on the table.

Brian Goodwin provoked an Eagles turnover 12 seconds into the second half and converted the steal into a layup. A second turnover moments later led to a jump shot by his older brother Connor and the game was tied 30-all.

A lay-in by Huisken, a smooth but powerful talent who will play at Augustana College (Sioux Falls, S.D.), put the Eagles back in front 32-30.

Shortly after that at 15:48, 6-foot-4 starting guard Kirby Montbriand, fighting for a loose ball near center court, hit his head, leaving him staring blankly at the Target Center ceiling.

H was helped off the court by EMTs. He sat glassy-eyed at the end of the bench for the remainder of the game, his dad and head coach coming down several times to offer assurance.

No. 6 man Trey Heinsius, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, came back into the game.

Connor Goodwin hit a jumper to tie it, 34-34, and launch a 10-2 BBE run.

Southwest rallied capped by another layup by Huisken that put the Eagles up (for the last time) 45-44.

Brian Goodwin came down and hit a pull-up jumper from 16 feet for a 46-45 BBE lead at the 3:09 mark.

Sophomore forward James Kuefler hit 1 of 2 free throws, Brian Gooodwin scored again and then Billy Borgerding made 3 of 4 at the line and it was 52-45 with a minute left.

BBE would make a 10-0 run over the game's final 3 minutes and 41 seconds.

"We had some good looks but couldn't finish," said Southwest head coach Jamie Pap. "Credit BBE; they're undefeated, well-coached and they didn't give up. They worked for it and that Brian Goodwin is a fantastic player."

Huisken finished with 17 points, 16 boards and 4 blocks. Dominic Nibbelink added 9 points. The Eagles shot just 18 percent the second half (5 of 27).

Coach Montbriand, who said the team thrived all year on its No. 1 ranking, made a defensive adjustment at halftime that didn't tame Huisken but made his role more difficult.

"We had the wings on the 1-3-1 zone collapse to the middle to help out instead of being so spread out," he explained.

"They're strong and play really well," said Borgerding of their adversary in the final. "They brought out the best in us."

A third-generation basketball player from the BBE area, the 6-foot-4 Borgerding finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds. Connor Goodwin supplied 8 points and 10 rebounds.

Coach Montbriand said that the reserves, Heinsius and Alex Wosmek, played big, especially with his son sidelined with a concussion.

Kirby was able to hoist the trophy with Connor, the team's only other senior, after the presentation of medals. He spent much of the rest of the afternoon reclined on a training room table.

Kirby, Connor and Brian were named all-tourney. Brian Goodwin scored 69 points in the three games and his brother Connor contributed 50 points and 33 rebounds.

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 54, SW Minn. Christian 45

Bel-Brt-El. (33-0) 26 28 -- 54

SW Mn. Christian (28-2) 30 15 -- 45

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa - 18-46 FG (1-7 3-pt); 17-26 FT; 37 rebounds; 14 fouls ... Scoring: James Kuefler 1-4 3-4 5, Billy Borgerding 2-7 5-7 9, Kirby Montbriand 1-4 0-0 3, Brian Goodwin 10-17 9-12 29, Connor Goodwin 4-10 0-3 8, Alex Wosmek 0-0 0-0 0, Trey Heinsius 0-4 0-0 0 ... 3-point shots: Montbriand 1-2 ... Rebound leaders: Kuefler 6, Borgerding 7, B. Goodwin 2, C. Goodwin 10, Wosmek 2, Heinsuis 2... Assist leaders: B. Goodwin 2 ... Steal leaders: Montbriand 2, B. Goodwin 2

Southwest Minnesota Christian - 18-52 FG (3-20 3-pt); 6-14 FT; 36 rebounds; 23 fouls ... Scoring: Klint Knutson 2-3 0-0 5, Andrew Topp 2-8 2-2 6, Dominic Nibbelink 4-16 0-0 9, Keeran Sampson 2-8 1-2 6, Zach Huisken 7-12 3-6 17, Eric Talsma 1-3 0-4 2 ... 3-point shots: Knutson 1-1, Nibbelink 1-8, Sampson 1-6 ... Rebound leaders: Top 6, Huisken 16... Assist leaders: Nibbelink 3 ... Steal leaders: Top 2, Sampson 2 ... Blocks: Huisken 4

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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