WHS BOYS' BASKETBALL: Weg’s double-double leads WHS over St. James, 85-43WORTHINGTON — Scoring seven straight points within the initial minute and 33 seconds of the first half and then beginning the second half with 11 consecutive points in the opening 2:35 Saturday night, the top-seeded Worthington Trojans dominated from start to finish and claimed a huge 85-43 victory over the eighth-seeded St. James Saints in the quarterfinal round of the Section 3AA South high school boys’ basketball tournament.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Scoring seven straight points within the initial minute and 33 seconds of the first half and then beginning the second half with 11 consecutive points in the opening 2:35 Saturday night, the top-seeded Worthington Trojans dominated from start to finish and claimed a huge 85-43 victory over the eighth-seeded St. James Saints in the quarterfinal round of the Section 3AA South high school boys’ basketball tournament.
Eleven players scored for the well-balanced Trojans, who improve to 18-6 overall and advance to the sub-section semifinals Thursday night in Jackson where they will take on fourth-seeded Luverne (14-10) at 6 p.m.
“I’m happy with how we played, as this was a great way to start the tournament,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said after the game. “We played very well on both ends of the floor and got things rolling right away in both halves. Everybody got to play and did a nice job for us, contributing to a nice all-around win.”
Mitch Weg scored 27 of his game-high 30 points in the first half to spark Worthington. Weg, who averages 24.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game, also ripped down 19 rebounds (seven offensive) to help the Trojans own a commanding 47-19 advantage on the boards.
“It’s just a matter of working hard and getting good position inside,” summed up Weg, who scored 12 of the Trojans’ first 14 points and took a defensive rebound coast-to-coast for an impressive layup to give Worthington a 14-5 lead at the 14:22 mark.
Weg’s points came on a variety of post moves, interior feeds from teammates, offensive-rebound chances and trips to the free-throw line. He had 11 baskets in the first half and converted on a pair of putbacks — including one that he turned into a 3-point play — in the final minute to help Worthington build a 52-26 halftime lead.
Marcus Potter (six points, four assists) supplied a pair of nifty backside offensive-rebound baskets midway through the first half and also dribbled the length of the court for a driving hoop at the buzzer.
Morgan Traylor (11 points) opened the game’s scoring with a driving basket through the lane 21 seconds in and later threw down a two-handed dunk two minutes into the second half.
Jon Vorwald (seven points, four rebounds) scored off a steal and fast-break pass from Weg (three assists) at the 15:42 mark, as the Trojans had a 63-26 bulge and continued to increase the spread. Jacob Woll (four points) scored off an assist from Dylan Gravenhof — who nailed a mid-range jumper shortly after — to give Worthington its largest lead (79-36) with 3:55 remaining.
Lucas Henning (nine points, five rebounds and four assists), Spencer Grafing (five points) and Dan Wetering (three points) each dialed in a 3-pointer for the Trojans. Wetering’s trey from the right wing gave Worthington a 34-17 lead with 6:30 to go in the first half, while Grafing’s long-distance swisher from the left wing came just 14 seconds into the second half.
Henning knocked down his 3-pointer — a wide-open look from the left wing — with 10:49 left in the second half. He followed that up with a basket off a post move in the lane, as the Trojans led 75-34 with 8:19 showing.
Jon Reller (six points, five rebounds) scored twice on offensive-rebound opportunities in the first half and also dished to Weg for a cutting basket down the lane. He scored off a pick-and-roll assist from Wetering in the second half, as well.
Will Dudley had a hand in the last two buckets of the game, scoring on a second-chance putback with 27 seconds left and then finding Woll for another hoop with five seconds to go. Tyler Verdoorn (four rebounds), Josh VanderVeen and Tristan Sorenson also played well down the stretch for the Trojans, who had 21 total assists and committed just seven turnovers.
“We took care of the ball and played unselfishly, which led to great offensive execution,” Ron Vorwald said. “We played better defense in the second half and did a nice job of containing dribble penetration. We got seven consecutive defensive stops during one stretch.”
Zach Brandts scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the first half to lead St. James, which ends its season with a record of 2-23.
St. James 26 17 — 43
Worthington 52 33 — 85
St. James (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Froehling 1-1-0-5, Nelson 1-0-0-3, Rogers 0-3-0-6, Brandts 1-6-5-20, Menssen 0-2-1-5, Carlson 0-2-0-4. Totals: 3-14-6-43.
WHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Dudley 0-1-0-2, Vorwald 0-3-1-7, Henning 1-3-0-9, Potter 0-3-0-6, Gravenhof 0-1-0-2, Wetering 1-0-0-3, Traylor 0-5-1-11, Grafing 1-1-0-5, Weg 0-12-6-30, Woll 0-2-0-4, Reller 0-3-0-6. Totals: 3-34-8-85.