Girls basketball: Trojans run Redwood ragged
WORTHINGTON —Forcing 39 turnovers Friday night, the Worthington Trojans survived a ragged Southwest Conference high school girls’ basketball game with a 54-39 victory over Redwood Valley on their home floor in their first contest of the New Year.
The Trojans, who had not played since a 65-38 victory over Springfield in the championship game of the St. James Holiday Tournament Dec. 28, were unable to generate a consistent offensive flow Friday, but utilized their swarming defensive pressure schemes to limit the Cardinals’ opportunities.
“We had too many turnovers,” summed up second-year Redwood Valley head coach Trevor Wittwer. “When you lose possession that often, it cuts down on your chances to score.”
The Cardinals, who earned a 10-point non-conference win on the road at Montevideo Thursday night, played well defensively themselves —never letting Worthington’s high-powered offense get untracked.
“It was one of those games where our effort was good,” exclaimed WHS head coach Eric Lindner. “I thought we played with enough energy, but not always with the right purpose. We worked on defense and moved the ball well on offense —but we missed so many shots.”
The Trojans, who improved to 8-1 overall (4-1 in conference games), received scoring from five players in the game’s first nine minutes and held an 11-4 lead.
Worthington seemed to be taking control when back-to-back assist passes from Abbie Langdgaard (left baseline lob and direct feed from the right wing) to Brooke Henning produced a pair of inside scores, putting the Trojans up 17-6 with 6:44 showing on the clock.
Henning’s second bucket of that sequence was a nifty left-handed hook and gave her nine early points.
After RV’s Kayla Pohlen drained a three-pointer on the Cardinals’ first possession following a Worthington timeout, Henning drove the lane and converted a three-point play.
A trio of free throws by the Cardinals sliced the gap to eight, but a dandy drive by Landgaard (eight points, five assists, four steals) gave Worthington a 22-12 advantage with 4:41 to play.
The Trojans, however, went into a real offensive lull the rest of the half —missing several good shots —but still held a 25-16 lead at the break.
A steal and layup by Apiew Alwal snapped a scoreless stretch of two minutes and 17 seconds for the Trojans.
Henning scored 13 of Worthington’s first-half points.
Teams exchange early second-half runs
The Trojans opened the second half with a 43-second possession, scoring when Ana Boever (11 points, 11 rebounds, eight steals) converted on a putback, sparking an early WHS run.
An inside bucket by Henning and Worthington’s only three-pointer of the game —by Boever off an assist from Paige Gravenhof (eight points, five steals) —increased the lead to 32-18.
The Cardinals responded with the their best surge of the night, scoring eight unanswered points, capped by a dandy play from Nicole Bunting to Kayla Huhnerkoch on an excellent offensive possession.
With 11:39 to play, the momentum appeared to be swinging Redwood’s way with the score at 32-26.
That was the closest the Cardinals came.
Ten seconds later, Worthington’s Rebecca Linder (seven steals) scored off an offensive rebound for the Trojans, putting the brakes on another WHS lull.
After continuous defensive stops the Trojans increased their lead to 12, as sophomore Emma Gerber converted on a dazzling reverse layup and Landgaard scored on a drive down the left side of the lane.
The lead was 38-26 with 8:37 on the clock.
A nice backside-help steal by Gerber was followed by a pair of free throws from Boever, stretching the spread to 14.
RV’s Makenzie Mace connected on a wide-open 15-footer and later passed to Alison Curry for an inside hoop, slicing the lead to 10.
Boever scored off a steal and RV’s Lauren Hanson (team-high 12 points) netted a pair of free throws —resulting in a 42-32 score with 4:56 showing.
Two free throws by Gravenhof, Landgaard’s pull-up jump shot and a nice move to the hoop by Gravenhof yielded a 6-0 run for the Trojans, increasing their lead to 48-32 with 3:44 left.
After a Hansen free throw, Worthington earned its largest lead of the game when Achan Alwal found the ever-hustling Gravenhof for an easy basket off a nifty cut.
Two long-range three-pointers by RV’s Tara Sandgren offset a pair of Trojan free throws from Landgaard and one each by sophomore Allie Bruns and Achan Alwal in the closing minutes.
The Cardinals (5-5, 2-2) matched the Trojans on the boards, with each team snagging 26.
But, a huge statistic in favor of Worthington was its total of 32 steals in the game.
Shooting-wise, the Trojans were one-of-11 from behind the arc, 19-of-48 on two-point field goals and 13-of-25 at the free throw line.
Worthington hosts Luverne (5-4, 2-2) Tuesday.
Redwood Valley 16 39
Worthington 25 54
RV (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Hanson 0-3-6-12, Curry 0-2-0-4, Mace 0-3-0-6, Sandgren 2-1-1-9, Pohlen 1-0-1-4, Fixsen 0-0-2-2, Huhnerkoch 0-1-0-2. Totals 3-10-10-39.
WHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Boever 1-2-4-11, Landgaard 0-3-2-8, Henning 0-6-3-15, Bruns 0-0-1-1, Gerber 0-1-0-2, Linder 0-1-0-2, Gravenhof 0-3-2-8, Ac.Alwal 0-1-1-3, Ap.Alwal 0-2-0-4. Totals 1-19-13-54.