WHS GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Top-seeded Trojans roll Saints 65-27WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s girls’ basketball team wanted to make a statement in the team’s first playoff game as the top seed in the South Sub-Section of Section 3AA.
WORTHINGTON — Worthington’s girls’ basketball team wanted to make a statement in the team’s first playoff game as the top seed in the South Sub-Section of Section 3AA.
The statement was read loud and clear, as the Trojans routed No. 8 seed Saint James 65-27 Saturday night.
“At the beginning of the game we were talking about how we wanted to be champions,” WHS forward Mackenzie Gerber said. “You can’t be a champion by winning by 10; you have to do it by winning by more.”
In her last game on the Worthington High School floor, Gerber scored 23 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, made six steals, dished out five assists and blocked four shots.
“It’s sad, I hate it and I hate talking about,” Gerber said regarding playing her last game at WHS. “At least I did it with this group of girls.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else.”
The Trojans (17-7) started the game on a 16-3 run behind six points from Gerber, two 3-pointers from Megan Juber (nine points) and baskets from Abbie Landgaard and Lydia Kemper .
Saint James (7-16) took more then 10 minutes to hit its first field goal — one of just eight field goals in the game for the Saints — to make it a 16-5 WHS lead.
The final seven minutes belonged to WHS, as the Trojans closed the first half with a 12-2 run behind five points from Bernadette Boever (nine points, 11 rebounds), three free throws from Gerber and a jumper from Paige Gravenhof to go into the break with a 32-10 lead.
“We knew we had to get it done and focus hard on the task ahead,” Boever said. “We’ve been beaten by lower teams before, so we had to really focus and get it done right away.
“We had to focus on the details and get everything right. We have to win as champions and not just the No. 1 seed and make a statement.”
A jumper for Saint James by Emily Hurley made it 37-15 WHS, but the Saints would get no closer. WHS followed with a 19-9 run behind 10 points from Gerber, four points from Kristen Andersen (five points, six rebounds), a 3-pointer from Juber and a jumper from Gravenhof.
It was not only the last game in the Worthington High School gym for Gerber, but for Boever, Juber and Andersen as well.
“The thing I like about these seniors is that no matter what the score is, they are diving after lose balls and getting after people,” WHS coach Eric Lindner said. “These seniors have really taken ownership of what we’re going to do.
“They’ve just said give us everything you got and let’s make a good run. They want to make a memory.”
The victory will leave a nice memory with the four seniors, but they aren’t finished yet.
“You don’t let up,” Gerber said. “It’s just starting and we can’t stop now.”
WHS out-rebounded Saint James 58-34 and forced 29 turnovers, while giving up the ball 15 times.
“One of the keys tonight was using our defense to convert some easy baskets,” Lindner said. “We just have to refocus on our next opponent.”
WHS will take on No. 5 seed Pipestone Area (11-14) at Jackson County Central Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Trojans are 2-0 this season versus the Arrows, winning by scores of 57-46 and 60-36 during the regular season.
“We’re going to have play really well to get by them,” Lindner said. “I think they’re going to come out and they’re going to be physical with us, like they always are.
“We’ll just have to match their intensity.”
SJ 10 17 — 27
WHS 32 33 — 65
Saint James (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Flohrs 1-0-3-6, Runge 0-3-1-7, Hurley 0-1-1-3, Beckius 0-2-1-5, Love 0-0-2-2, Eckstrom 0-1-0-2, Cervantes 0-0-2-2. Total 1-7-10.
Worthington (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Gerber 0-7-9-23, Juber 3-0-0-9, Landgaard 0-1-0-2, Kemper 0-3-0-6, Boever 0-4-1-9, Gravenhof 0-3-0-6, Andersen 0-2-1-5, Henning 1-0-0-3, Alwal 0-1-0-2. Total 4-21-11-65.
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy can be reached at 376-7328.