Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic: 16th annual event set to begin
WORTHINGTON —It figures to be an exciting rematch: Worthington and Perham going head-to-head tonight (Dec. 27) in the 16th Annual Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament.
But this time it won’t be in the finals.
A year ago, the Worthington Trojans defeated the Perham Yellowjackets 79-70 in two overtimes in the varsity championship game at Worthington High School. This year, the two teams will meet in the first round.
Tournament action begins today at 1 p.m. with a junior varsity semifinal contest between the Mankato West Scarlets and the Sibley East Wolverines. Then at 2:30, Worthington and Perham contend. The JV third place game is Saturday at 1 p.m. with the championship following at 2:30 p.m.
In varsity play, Mankato West and Sibley East play a semifinal game at 6 p.m., with Worthington and Perham squaring off at 7:30 p.m. The varsity third place game is 5 p.m. Saturday with the championship to tip off at 6:30 p.m.
In 2012, Will Mulder went 6-for-6 at the free throw line in overtime, hitting a key basket in the second OT to give Worthington the championship. Mulder is back with the Trojans this year as a junior.
If there’s a favorite in this year’s tournament, it might be Perham. The Yellowjackets have reached the tourney finals in four straight years, last winning in 2010 with a 77-58 victory over Ellsworth. A state tournament team last March, Perham began the 2013-14 season ranked No. 1 in Class AA. Since winning their first five games, the Jackets have lost two to fall to 7-2, but both setbacks were by a single point — 56-55 to Pelican Rapids and 52-51 to Battle Lake.
Three returning starters return for Perham. They are senior guard Tyler Glines, senior guard Eli Beachy and senior forward Hunter Salathe.
Worthington owns a 3-3 record. The Trojans’ victories are over Windom Area, Luverne and Murray County Central. Their losses are to Fairmont, Marshall and Pipestone Area.
Under first-year coach Jared Keaveny, Worthington plays an up-tempo brand of basketball with Mulder, senior guard Spencer Grafing, senior forward Carter Lindner, senior forward Will Dudley and senior guard Marcus Potter all combining — with the help of a deep bench — to give the host team all the tools needed to make its up-and-down-the floor, high pressure defensive game pay dividends.Mankato West is 6-2. The Scarlets won their first four games of the season but is coming off an 80-52 drubbing at the hands of the Marshall Tigers. Junior point guard Carter Burmeister, a starter since his freshman season, runs the show for West. His is a team that focuses on defense — getting stops at the half court.
Sibley East is 3-5 on the season thus far. The Wolverines lost five of their first six games but won the last two, beating New Ulm Cathedral 59-44 and Le Sueur-Henderson 62-61. They are 0-3 on the road.
First-year head coach Daniel Meier preaches good possessions, good shots and man-to-man defense. Senior guards Brody Rodning and Ben White lead the way.