- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Losing in last year’s sectional playoffs was as big a factor in Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa’s latest 1A state title as any victory it notched this season.

The loss to Wheaton-Herman-Norcross prevented the Jaguars (31-1) - who won their first state title the previous year - from reaching the state tournament and stung so badly the team collectively decided anything short of a championship in 2014 would be a failure.

“We could kid ourselves and say that wasn’t the case, but that’s where we were, I mean we were, ‘state championship or bust,’” B-B-E head coach Dave Montbriand said Saturday after his team beat Rushford-Peterson 52-40 for its second state title in three years. “We would’ve been very disappointed not winning this game and that’s kind of sad when it gets to that point, but that’s the way it was and the kids came through.”

None more than Brian Goodwin, who scored 14 of his 24 points in the second half.

“That was our goal this year was to get back to the state tournament and win it,” Goodwin said. “We used that loss last year as motivation and now it just feels even better.”

After blowing an early lead, the top-ranked Jaguars leaned on Goodwin’s poise in the final 10 minutes. Down 34-30 with 10:33 to play, Goodwin fueled a 13-5 game-deciding run that included seven-consecutive free throws. After grabbing an offensive rebound, Goodwin lobbed a nice assist in the paint to Bill Borgerding, who was fouled on the shot and completed the three-point play to put B-B-E up 46-39.

Alex Vix led the third-ranked Trojans (31-2) with 12 points and Cole Kingsley added 11. The Trojans, last year’s third-place finisher, played for their third overall state title and second as Rushford-Peterson.

“I just think we missed shots,” Trojans coach Thomas Vix said. “Every shot in a close game like that gets magnified.”

That was especially true considering B-B-E’s size advantage; the Jaguars outrebounded Rushford-Peterson 42-20.

After 10 minutes, the Jaguars jumped led 11-0 and looked as if they’d run away early. The Trojans steadily climbed their way back into the game, though, thanks to some physical defense that limited B-B-E to 10 points the rest of the half.

“We had a tough start, 11-nothing, a lot of teams would’ve probably quit right there but we found a way to get back in at halftime,” Thomas Vix said.

Kingsley and Vix led Rushford-Peterson’s rally with eight points apiece in the half. Alex O’Hare’s fast-break layup with 2:30 to play gave the Trojans their first lead of the game at 21-20. Vix hit a three and Kingsley added a free throw to put the Trojans up 25-21 at halftime.

It was unfamiliar territory for the Jaguars, who routed most of their opponents this season, their lone loss coming to Class 4A power Apple Valley.

“When we got in there at halftime down by four, we’d been there two years ago in the state championship when we won, so we knew we had a chance,” Borgerding said.

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