West wins JV; Trojans thirdWORTHINGTON — Freshman Philip Nelson scored a team-best 14 points Tuesday afternoon, helping the Mankato West Scarlets earn a 61-50 victory over Coon Rapids in the junior varsity championship game of the Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic boys’ basketball tournament.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Freshman Philip Nelson scored a team-best 14 points Tuesday afternoon, helping the Mankato West Scarlets earn a 61-50 victory over Coon Rapids in the junior varsity championship game of the Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic boys’ basketball tournament.
Mankato West built a 38-22 halftime lead and held off a late-game surge from Coon Rapids to secure the title-game victory.
In the third-place game, Worthington received strong offensive-rebounding throughout and hit a trio of 3-pointers late in the first half to take a 12-point lead (28-16) at halftime. The Trojans later led by as much as 17 before thwarting a late second-half comeback from the Yellowjackets and winning 53-44.
Worthington 53, Perham 44
Junior John Ross popped in a game-high 15 points to lead the Trojans, and both senior Michael Waage and junior Zach Nerem contributed eight points in Worthington’s nine-point victory.
“We had a better matchup today, and our kids played pretty well,” Worthington coach Doug Brands said. “We did a decent job on the boards, our defense was good at times, and we hit some long shots. We are getting better.”
Perham had leads of 4-2, 6-4 and 10-5 in the game’s first five minutes. Sophomore Keith Schornack scored four of his team-high 11 points early on to spark the Yellowjackets.
Worthington, though, crashed the offensive glass with authority and started to gain control of the game. Junior Sam Landberg had at least three offensive rebounds and sank a pair of free throws to help the Trojans take the lead.
Nerem and freshman Mitchael Weg (six points) each scored on putbacks, and Waage scored after an offensive rebound and bounce pass from Weg, as Worthington held Perham scoreless for nearly 10 consecutive minutes and took a 17-10 lead with 4:54 left in the first half.
The Trojans stretched their lead to 28-16 by halftime, as Nerem, junior Michael Patten and Ross each connected from behind the 3-point arc. Ross, who added a running jumper in the lane at the one-minute mark, swished his 3-pointer from way out on the right wing with six seconds left to play.
Ross continued to spark the Trojans in the second half, as he fed junior Aaron Grafing and Weg for baskets on out-of-bounds plays before swishing another 3-pointer from the left wing to give Worthington a 41-24 advantage with 7:42 left.
Other key plays that helped Worthington open up that lead included a 3-pointer from the top of the key by junior Patrick Johnson (five points) and a basket by Nerem on an assist from freshman Luke Henning. An over-the-top lob feed from junior Justin Larson to Waage for a bucket made it 43-26 at the 7:04 mark.
Perham, though, trimmed the gap to eight (50-42) with less than a minute remaining. Freshman Zach Gabbard (nine points) hit a floater in the lane, and sophomore Isaac Rutten scored on a fast-break dish from sophomore Desmine Duffy to start the Yellowjackets’ rally.
A 3-pointer apiece from freshman Jordan Anderson and Gabbard made it a three-possession game with 27 seconds left.
However, Worthington held on and got a trio of free throws from Ross in the final 26 seconds to seal the victory.
Perham 16 28 — 44
Worthington 28 25 — 53
PHS (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Kalina 0-1-0-2, Schornack 1-3-2-11, Januszewski 0-3-0-6, Rutten 0-0-1-1, Anderson 1-1-0-5, Duffy 0-1-1-3, Gabbard 1-2-2-9, Huus 1-0-0-3, Bruhn 0-2-0-4. Totals: 4-13-6-44.
WHS (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Patten 1-0-0-3, Ross 2-2-5-15, Johnson 1-0-2-5, Landberg 0-0-4-4, Nerem 1-2-1-8, Grafing 0-1-2-4, Weg 0-3-0-6, Waage 0-4-0-8. Totals: 5-12-14-53.
Mankato West 61, Coon Rapids 50
Much like the Scarlets’ varsity team did Monday night, Mankato West’s junior varsity squad displayed good offensive balance in securing the title-game victory over the Cardinals.
Backing up Nelson’s 14-point effort were sophomores Nick Kaus (12 points), Matt Wills (nine) and Desmond Spann (eight), junior Mac Gulke (seven) and sophomore Jack Mages (six).
Kaus bured a trio of 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first half, as the Scarlets took a 15-7 lead with 11:20 to play in the first half.
A steal and coast-to-coast layup by Gulke made it 21-11 West at the nine-minute mark, and the Scarlets increased their cushion to 16 (38-22) by halftime.
However, Cardinal junior Torren Dowdy scored 14 of his game-high 22 points in the second half to help Coon Rapids rally. Dowdy’s basket in transition with 8:54 remaining brought the Cardinals to within eight points (47-39).
Two free throws by Dowdy nearly two minutes later made it 47-44, and a foul shot from junior Aaron Lukitsch cut the spread to 47-45 with 6:48 left.
However, a 3-point play by Wills put West up by five, and Nelson went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch to help the Scarlets secure an 11-point victory.
Junior Ricke Setts added nine points for Coon Rapids.
Mankato West 38 23 — 61
Coon Rapids 22 28 — 50
WEST (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Kaus 3-1-1-12, Mages 0-2-2-6, Spann 0-3-2-8, Schlichte 0-2-0-4, Wills 0-2-5-9, Nelson 0-3-8-14, Nibbe 0-0-1-1, Gulke 1-1-2-7. Totals: 4-14-21-61.
CR (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Miller 0-1-0-2, Dulian 0-1-1-3, Oyanagi 0-1-0-2, Pikula 0-2-1-5, Cooper 0-2-0-4, Setts 0-4-1-9, Dowdy 3-5-3-22, Lukitsch 0-1-1-3. Totals: 3-17-7-50.