WHS BOYS' BASKETBALL: Worthington rolls by LuverneWORTHINGTON — Eleven players found the scoring column for the Trojan boys’ basketball team, as Worthington defeated the Luverne Cardinals by a score of 91-55 in the Southwest Conference Thursday night.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Eleven players found the scoring column for the Trojan boys’ basketball team, as Worthington defeated the Luverne Cardinals by a score of 91-55 in the Southwest Conference Thursday night.
“It was a collective effort,” WHS head coach Ron Vorwald said following game. “Everybody contributed from top to bottom, just a great job by everybody.
“We shot the ball well and that helps. It’s an easy game when the ball goes in the hole. We capitalized on open looks, shot the ball well and got the ball inside. Mitch (Weg), (Jon) Reller and Morgan (Traylor) finished well around the rim.”
Indeed the Trojans put forth a well-rounded effort, which was highlighted by the strong interior presence of their bigs, ball control and hot perimeter shooting.
Weg paced the Trojan attack with 20 points, nine rebounds and three shot blocks, while his counterparts in the post, Traylor (nine rebounds and two shot blocks) and Reller scored eight and five points, respectively.
WHS shot a sizzling 13 of 27 from beyond the 3-point arc with an 8-for-12 effort after the intermission.
Six players made triples for the hosts led by Dan Wetering (nine points) and Spencer Grafing (10 points) with three apiece, while Lucas Henning (14 points), Jon Vorwald (eight points) and Dylan Gravenhof (six points) each made a pair of 3s. Josh Vander Veen added a 3-pointer late in the contest.
In addition to Henning’s 14 points, the senior guard facilitated the Trojan scoring with eight assists.
WHS committed five turnovers in the contest, while Luverne handed the ball over 15 times.
“We did a good job defensively as we made it difficult for Luverne to get open looks. I was very pleased with our effort,” Coach Vorwald added.
However, early in the contest, the Cardinals had the upper hand as they took the opening lead with a 3 from Devin Heitkamp (team-high 12 points on four 3-pointers) two minutes into the game.
WHS responded with an offenvise-rebound putback by Henning and a transition basket by Weg off an assist from Henning over the next minute but LHS responded to take its largest lead of the night at 8-4 with 14:19 left in the first half.
Alex Weis (six points) lobbed a pass into the low post for Matt Arends just past the 15:00 mark and Heitkamp drained another triple for the four-point advantage.
The Cardinal lead didn’t last long as WHS countered with 3s from Jon Vorwald and Henning (assist Wetering) over the next minute to recapture the lead at 10-8 with 13:25 left in the first.
Brett Heronimus (10 points, six assists) tied the game at 10-10 seconds later as he drove down the lane but from there the Trojans took control of the contest.
A Traylor move in the post off an assist from Henning followed by a steal and a dunk by the WHS post gave the hosts a lead it wouldn’t relinguish.
With the score at 14-10 with 12 minutes left in the first half, the Trojans closed out the opening stanza with a 27-16 run.
Weg scored eight points in the run followed a pair of 3s each Wetering and Grafing, a three-point play in the post by Reller, and baskets from Traylor and Marcus Potter.
WHS limited its opponent’s scoring over the course of the first half as Wetering drew a pair of key charges to regain possession for the Trojans and Weg blocked a pair of shots.
Josh Slieter (nine points, 10 rebounds) and Brandon Klein each scored five of the final 16 Cardinal points in the first half, while Heronimus, Matt Overgaard (eight points) and Weis each added a field goal.
“Worthington played very well,” LHS head coach Tom Rops said. “They shot the 3 well. Obviously with their big scorers down low, we tried to take that away and they were able to make a bunch of shots from the outside to get us out of the game.
“The game was over pretty early (Thursday night), so give them a lot of credit.”
Following the halftime break, the Cardinals cut the lead to 12 points (41-29) as Arends hit an early 3 off an assist from Heronimus but the visitors could not get any closer as the Trojans continued to widen the spread with strong post play from Weg and red-hot perimeter shooting.
WHS advanced the lead to 20 points (52-32) with 13 minutes left in the game and eventually took a 35-point lead with 2:45 left at 86-51.
With the large point spread, the Trojans were able to get the varsity reserves some valuable court time.
Gravenhof made a pair of 3s, Vander Veen drained one of his own and Tyler Verdoorn had a pair of strong drives to the hoop in the game’s closing minutes to lead the Trojan’s bench.
“It means a lot to those kids to get some minutes,” Coach Vorwald said. “Those guys are making us better. They don’t always see a lot of minutes, but they are the ones that are making us better.
“They are busting their tails in practice. They work extremely hard on offense and defense every day. It’s a team effort and those guys are so valuable to our basketball team. It’s just a joy to see them get in there and play and have success.”
Early in the season, WHS traveled to Luverne and edged the Cardinals by two points (61-59) on Dec. 13.
Weg attributed the turn around in the point spread to Trojans’ work ethic and their development as team.
“It just shows how much we have grown as a team,” Weg said. “That first game was pretty early in the season. It just shows how hard we’ve worked and how much better we can be as a team. We just have to keep working and keep getting better.”
With the win, WHS improves to 13-5 overall and 6-3 in the SWC, while LHS drops to 12-8 overall and 4-6 in the conference.
Both teams return to action tonight as the Cardinals travel to Redwood Valley for a conference game, while the Trojans go to Mapleton for a non-conference game against Maple River.
LHS 26 29 — 55
WHS 41 50 — 91
LHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Arends 1-1-0-5, Klein 1-1-0-5, Heitkamp 4-0-0-12, Overgaard 0-4-0-8, Heronimus 0-4-2-10, Slieter 0-4-1-9, Weis 0-2-2-6. Totals 6-16-5-55.
WHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Vorwald 2-1-0-8, Henning 2-4-0-14, Vander Veen 1-0-0-3, Verdoorn 0-2-0-4, Potter 0-2-0-4, Gravenhof 2-0-0-6, Wetering 3-0-0-9, Traylor 0-4-0-8, Grafing 3-0-1-10, Weg 0-9-2-20, Reller 0-2-1-5. Totals 13-24-4-91.