Blossoms advance to subsection final

Published 12:21 am Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blooming Prairie's Michael Thomas rises above the Goodhue defense as the Awesome Blossoms won 61-55 in the Subsection 1A West Division semifinals in Mayo Civic Auditorium in Rochester Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/

ROCHESTER — Goodhue tried to do everything it could to rattle Blooming Prairie freshman John Rumpza.

Blooming Prairie's Alex Fiebiger puts up shot over Goodhue's Jacob Staehli at the Mayo Civic Auditorium in Rochester Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/

He was knocked to the ground twice on intentional fouls and he heard chants of freshman when he was on the free throw line, but Rumpza had the last laugh as he finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds and the No. 3 seeded Awesome Blossoms knocked off the No. 2 seeded Wildcats (18-8 overall) 61-55 in Mayo Civic Center Auditorium Monday.

Rumpza, a 6-7 center, who went 5-of-8 from the field and 14-of-19 from the free throw line, scored BP’s last eight points of the night from the foul line as he put the game out of reach.

Email newsletter signup

“These Goodhue fans are down there chanting ‘Freshman! Freshman!’ and that’s distracting, but you’ve just got to focus on the rim and block that out,” said Rumpza.

Rumpza was thrown to the ground after getting tied up with a Goodhue player early in the first half and he calmly went to the line and made two free throws to make it a 32-27 BP lead.

“It doesn’t take much to get me fired up,” Rumpza said of the play. “I had position on that one and I didn’t do anything wrong, so I didn’t really care.”

BP leaned on junior Michael Thomas for much of its early offense, but he was

Blooming Prairie's Ryan McCabe controls the ball while being defended by Goodhue's Tyson Dicke at Mayo Civic Auditorium in Rochester Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/

called for his fourth foul with 9:25 left in the game and he fouled out with 3:37 left in the game and BP clinging to a 51-47 lead.

“It was not very fun (to watch the last three minutes), but you learn a lot from sitting on the bench and watching your teammates play. You get a good coaching experience out of it,” said Thomas, who finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals. “This (win) brings us together so much. It just brings the whole program to a new level and makes people appreciate it even more. I love this.”

BP senior point guard Luke Hueman had to sit for an eight-minute stretch in the second half with four fouls and senior guard Ryan McCabe fouled out with 4:34 left in the game.

The Blossoms persevered as other players stepped up on both ends of the court, according to BP head coach John Bruns.

“Pat Jones played some huge minutes for us. He played solid basketball and played within himself. Alex Fiebiger had some huge plays and Cody Doerhoefer played well,” Bruns said. “It was a really gratifying team win with a lot of guys stepping into roles that they might not be used to.”

Blooming Prairie's Gabe Kartes fights up a shot over Goodhue's Ryan Biegelow at Mayo Civic Auditorium in Rochester Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/

BP’s biggest play of the night may have come when Gabe Kartes missed a free throw. With BP up 55-52, Kartes missed a front end of a one-and-one but he reacted quickly and came down with the offensive board. BP ran off another eight seconds of clock before Rumpza hit two free throws to make it 57-52 with 1:15 left in the game.

Kartes, who had 14 points and five rebounds, also a hit a key jump shot to make it 53-47, moments after having one of his shots blocked into the stands.

“Before the game coach Bruns said we need to play like we need it, not like we want it. I just wanted to get that ball and win,” Kartes said.

The game was a physical one throughout the night as both teams combined for 67 free throw attempts. While BP and Goodhue have had a football rivalry, they haven’t met much on the hardwood, but Monday’s game brought back some memories for both teams.

“We were all kidding around about it at the end,” Kartes said. “They said ‘we thought we could get you in basketball after you got us in football.’ It was fun and we were friendly with each other. We’re all teenage boys and it’s basketball. There’s respect both ways.”

With the win, BP (13-13 overall) will play in its first subsection title game in at least 20 years when it takes on No. 1 Faribault Bethlehem Academy (20-7 overall) at Mayo Civic Center Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The Blossoms split the regular season series with FBA as they won 55-39 in BP Feb. 17 and lost 52-48 in Faribault Jan. 13.

“Both games were very good games,” Bruns said. “It’s hard to feel confident against a Franz Boelter coached team, but we know we’re capable of beating them and we know what they’re capable of. It’s exciting.”

Blooming Prairie freshman John Rumpza dribbles the ball up the court against Goodhue at Mayo Civic Auditorium in Rochester Monday. -- Rocky Hulne/

BP 27 28 — 55

Goodhue 28 33 — 61

BP scoring: John Rumpza, 24; Michael Thomas, 15; Gabe Kartes, 14; Alex Fiebiger, 4; Pat Jones, 2; Luke Hueman, 2; field goals: 36 percent (19-for-52); three-pointers: 14 percent (2-for-14); free throws: 63 percent (21-for-33); rebounds: 24 (Rumpza, 15); turnovers: 12

Goodhue scoring: Zachary Hinsch, 15; Ryan Bigelow, 14; Jacob Staehil, 10; Tyson Dicke, 8; Michael McNamera, 8; field goals: 31 percent (14-for-45); three-pointers: 27 percent (5-for-18); free throws: 64 percent (22-for-34)