Meinders leads Worthington as Trojans rally to third-place finish with 64-51 victory against PerhamWORTHINGTON — Junior Travis Meinders and senior Mike Vorwald combined to score 38 first-half points Tuesday night, leading the Worthington Trojans to a 64-51 victory over the Perham Yellowjackets in the third-place game of the 11th Annual Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic boys’ basketball tournament.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Junior Travis Meinders and senior Mike Vorwald combined to score 38 first-half points Tuesday night, leading the Worthington Trojans to a 64-51 victory over the Perham Yellowjackets in the third-place game of the 11th Annual Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic boys’ basketball tournament.
Worthington improves to 7-1 with the victory and will host St. James Saturday night. Perham is now 1-6 and plays at West Central Area Monday night.
“This was a good win for us, and we’re going to enjoy this one for a few days,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said after the game. “We played very well for about a nine-minute stretch to end the first half. We cranked up our defensive intensity by utilizing a 1-2-2 half-court trap, and that seemed to get us going on the offensive end, as well.”
Meinders (six rebounds) poured in 21 of his game-high 28 points in the first half, while Vorwald (eight assists, seven rebounds) scored 17 of his 20 points in the first 18 minutes as Worthington overcame an early 10-1 deficit and outscored the Yellowjackets 28-5 in the final nine minutes to take a 44-26 halftime lead.
Perham led for the majority of the first half and was up 21-16 following a driving basket by senior Michael Steeke (seven points) with 9:03 showing on the clock — forcing Worthington to call a timeout.
Meinders came out of the break and nailed a 3-pointer to make it 21-19, and a little later, senior Derek Busswitz took a charge to give the Trojans’ defense a lift.
Vorwald gave Worthington its first lead of the game (24-23) with a nifty basket at the 5:32 mark. The veteran point guard scored on a finger-roll drive after using a crossover dribble (left to right) to get into the paint.
Yellowjacket senior Anthony Ruther (nine points) sank a free throw to tie the game at 24 with 5:18 to go, but Vorwald answered with a 3-pointer from the left wing as the shot-clock horn sounded. He was also fouled on the play and converted the ensuing free throw to give the Trojans a 28-24 lead with 4:25 to play.
Perham’s Drew Johnson, a senior who scored eight points, drove in for a bucket 45 seconds later. Worthington, though, scored 16 straight points in the final 3:19 to build its 44-26 halftime lead.
Vorwald hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to start the scoring. Busswitz then came up with a steal that led to a sweet reverse layup by Meinders off a feed from senior Aduo Omot (five rebounds, four points) in transition.
Meinders connected from 3-point land to put the Trojans up 36-26 at the 2:30 mark, and Vorwald followed with a steal and layup with 2:12 left.
A dandy post-up move and free throw (3-point play) by Meinders and another 3-pointer from Vorwald in the last two minutes allowed the Trojans — who were 8-for-13 from behind the arc in the first half — to take a comfortable cushion into the locker room.
“We executed our offense and shot the ball well during that stretch,” Vorwald said. “Travis and Mike each played very well and hit big shots for us. However, it was our defense in the final nine minutes that allowed us to go on that run.”
Meinders netted five free throws, and Vorwald swished a 3-pointer from the right wing in the first four minutes of the second half — extending Worthington’s advantage to 52-28 at the 14:33 mark.
Busswitz, senior Matt King (eight points) and junior Zac Houselog each knocked down a shot after receiving a pass from Vorwald in the next six minutes. Houselog’s basket made it 61-44 with 7:32 to play.
Junior Ben Bucholz, who scored 11 of his team-best 13 points in the second half, helped the Yellowjackets trim the final margin to 13 (64-51). He rifled in a 3-pointer from the top of the key and scored a pair of baskets in the lane during the final eight minutes.
Sophomore Nick Tobkin (eight points) and Johnson each stroked a 3-pointer to spark Perham in the second half, and senior Jason Huus scored all six of his points in a four-minute sequence midway through the period. The Yellowjackets won the final 18 minutes, outscoring Worthington 25-20.
Perham also won the game’s first two-plus minutes and bolted out to a 10-1 lead by the 15:28 mark. Steeke found Tobkin for a 3-pointer in the left corner on the opening possession of the night.
Ruther scored in the lane before Steeke scored after a steal and later passed to Johnson for a 3-pointer, as the Yellowjackets were on a roll to start the game.
Meinders drew a charge and nailed a 3-pointer to keep Worthington close, and King and Vorwald fired in back-to-back long-distance shots to make it 12-10 Perham at the 13-minute mark.
Ruther scored six of Perham’s next seven points, while Meinders scored twice in the lane, and King hit a 17-footer along the right baseline — changing the scoreboard numbers to 19-16 before Steeke’s driving basket with 9:03 left made it 21-16 Yellowjackets.
Worthington, which forced 31 turnovers and lost the ball 14 times, then started to take control — combining its solid defensive effort with the hot shooting hand of both Meinders and Vorwald to go on its game-changing 28-5 surge.
“We played hard and responded well to a rough start,” Vorwald said. “This tournament was a good test for us, and it was nice to come back and get a win tonight.”
Perham 26 25 — 51
Worthington 44 20 — 64
PHS (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): J. Huus 0-2-2-6, Bucholz 1-5-0-13, Tobkin 2-1-0-8, Steeke 0-2-3-7, Johnson 2-1-0-8, Ruther 0-3-3-9. Totals: 5-14-8-51.
WHS (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Vorwald 5-2-1-20, Meinders 3-6-7-28, Omot 0-0-4-4, Busswitz 0-1-0-2, Houselog 0-1-0-2, King 2-1-0-8. Totals: 10-11-12-64.