North Woods is on a mission to take the next step from where it left off a year ago.
Floor general Cade Goggleye directed a nearly flawless offensive attack in the first half, propelling the No. 2-ranked Grizzlies back to the Class 1A championship with a convincing 67-47 triumph over No. 4 Cass Lake-Bena in the semifinals Friday at Target Center.
"We're happy where we're at, but not satisfied," North Woods senior forward Tate Olson said. The Grizzlies lost to Minneapolis North 96-49 in the final last year.
North Woods (31-1), located in Cook, Minn., closed the first half on a 15-2 run over the final 5:26 to take a 33-17 lead. Four starters scored in the run, led by Goggleye's six points. The junior guard had 13 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, along with three assists.
"We were pretty efficient offensively," North Woods coach Will Kleppe said. "We were able to attack the basket."
North Woods wasn't nearly as efficient after halftime, but the Panthers could never get within single digits. Three other starters — Trevor Morrison (14), Olson (11) and Brendan Parson (10) — finished in double figures for the Grizzlies.
"Cade always sets people up for great looks," Olson said. "He's always been able to handle the pressure."
Noah DeLapaz led the Panthers (30-2) with 16 points.
Cass Lake-Bena coach John Wind said the team's 63-61 double-overtime victory over Rushford-Peterson on Thursday night "took more out of us than we thought it would. We didn't play very well."