Boys basketball: Tigers clinch Southwest title with win over WHS
WORTHINGTON — Following an impressive first half in which the Worthington Trojans hung right with Marshall, a five-minute lapse led to a loss in boys basketball action on their home court Friday night.
Southwest Conference leader Marshall proved its worth late in the first half and early in the second by taking advantage of several miscues to pull away and defeat Worthington, 85-63, to win the league outright.
The Trojans dropped to 7-13 overall and Marshall improved to 19-4. The Tigers got back on track with the win after a recent loss, 64-58, to Class AA’s fifth-rated Fairmont on the road.
"If you take away five minutes we played a really nice game," Worthington head coach Jared Keaveny said after the game. "Unfortunately against a team like Marshall, if you lose yourself for five minutes, that is going to cost you."
Even as Marshall led through much of the opening period the Trojans were never far behind. When Worthington shared the ball well and took its time, good things seemed to come its way offensively.
On the other hand, Marshall favored an up-tempo game that allowed buckets in transition leading into halftime. The Tigers had three consecutive stops paired with two shots from senior guard Riley Sharbono that helped turn a one-point lead for WHS into a 10-point game in Marshall’s favor going into the locker room.
Sharbono played a big part in the Tigers’ game, scoring 15 points in the first half on his way to 30 for the evening. Worthington, in foul trouble, frequently sent the Tigers to the free throw line after the break. It allowed Marshall to balloon its lead as a dozen of the Tigers’ 15 made free throws were in the second half.
The closest the Trojans could get was a 12-point deficit on a three-pointer from junior Will Mulder with 11:13 remaining in the contest.
"Anytime you let a team like Marshall have a 20-point lead, you’re going to be struggling," Keaveny said. "We did take some poor early shots and they got the rebounds and went down and got layups. That really hurt us. We have to do a better job of being patient with it.
"We have some guys who can shoot it, so it’s OK that we want to shoot it," he added. "But we have to be willing to pass it once and awhile."
Mulder paced Worthington with 21 points for the night and hit the team’s only two treys. Senior guard Marcus Potter joined him in double figures with 14 for the game. Ten of his points were scored in the second half.
Marshall’s CD Douglas posted 19 points to join Sharbono as a leader for the Tigers. Senior forward Zach Drum chipped in 10.
Worthington, now 6-6 in the league, turns right around for a trip to non-conference foe Spirit Lake this afternoon for a 3:30 p.m. contest. The Indians come into the game with a 13-6 record and lost Tuesday evening at home to Le Mars (14-5).
"I’m looking forward to us getting back out onto the floor," Keaveny said. "We’ll watch film on them tonight. Believe it or not, I thought we took some steps tonight."
Marshall 38 85
Worthington 28 63
MARSHALL (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Sharbono 2-10-4-30, Douglas 0-9-1-19, Drum 0-4-2-10, Schroeder 0-2-1-5, Johnson 0-0-4-4, R. Winkelman 0-2-0-4, L. Winkelman 0-2-0-4, Pietz 0-2-0-4, Hmielowski 0-1-1-3, Saugstad 0-0-2-2. Totals 2-32-15-85.
WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Mulder 2-7-1-21, Potter 0-5-4-14, Grafing 0-4-1-9, Dudley 0-4-0-8, Guerra 0-2-0-4, Wolyniec 0-1-2-4, Weg 0-1-1-3. Totals 2-24-9-63.