WHS GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Trojans have their good luck charms ready to go for stateWORTHINGTON — When a team is as hot as the Worthington girls’ basketball team is at the moment, it’s impossible not to get into a routine. As the wins pile up, so does the belief of some outside source being the reason. Some would say it’s all in their heads. The Trojans would say it’s all about what’s on their heads and, in some cases, their feet.
WORTHINGTON — When a team is as hot as the Worthington girls’ basketball team is at the moment, it’s impossible not to get into a routine. As the wins pile up, so does the belief of some outside source being the reason. Some would say it’s all in their heads. The Trojans would say it’s all about what’s on their heads and, in some cases, their feet.
There are many differences between Kristen Andersen, Mackenzie Gerber, Abbie Landgaard, Megan Juber and Bernadette Boever when they step on the court as the starting squad for Worthington — whether in appearance or the way each girl plays the game. From Boever’s rebounding ability to Juber’s 3-point touch to Landgaard’s ability to handle the ball to Gerber’s lower-your-shoulder-and-drive attitude to Andersen’s presence down low, each Trojan brings something different to the court and compliments one another perfectly.
Where they, and every player on Worthington, are exactly the same is on their head. Around every Trojan forehead on the girls’ basketball team is a black Nike headband. Those headbands have been along for the Trojans’ playoff run to the state tournament Wednesday where they will take on Sauk Centre at 8 p.m. at the Target Center in Minneapolis.
“The headbands are key,” Gerber said. “We have to give credit to the headbands. You put the headband on and it’s game time. You can feel it through your entire body.”
There are some misconceptions as to when the legend of the black Nike headband began for the Trojans.
Some believe it was after the 63-61 loss to Adrian Jan. 31, after which the Trojans reeled off 10 wins in 11 games.
“We went through a rough spot after our loss to Adrian and we started wearing these headbands and we started winning,” Juber said. “We’re kind of superstitious, so we can’t change it now.
“They look pretty tough. Plus, it gives you memories and things to bring you closer.”
Some even believe underclassmen are the reason behind the trend, which is blasphemy in the high school world.
“Abbie (Landgaard) and Paige (Gravenhof) started wearing them and then Mackenzie (Gerber) got them,” Andersen said. “We thought it would be cool if all the seniors wore them on ‘Senior Night’ and then we just started a winning streak, so everyone got them since sections began.
“I’m not going to stop wearing them because I’m afraid we’re going to lose without them. It’s just that little bit of confidence to get a spark underneath you.”
Landgaard has her sister to thank for the headband trend.
“My mom bought a headband for my sister a long time ago, but she never wore it,” Landgaard said. “I wore it to practice one day, but my head was kind of small, so it didn’t really work.
“Then the whole team started wearing them. It feels good because I’m an underclassmen. Starting something makes you kind of a leader.”
For some, they are just headbands.
“It doesn’t do anything for me except get the sweat out of my eyes,” Boever said. “We were going to wear them to look cool. I got to the game and we ended up killing New Ulm. I thought maybe there was something to these headbands.
“I put it on again and we won again and I said to myself that this couldn’t be a coincidence. We just kept wearing them and we’ve won ever since.”
No one is going to argue with a team which has won 10 of its last 11 games, especially with the latest two playoff wins coming to teams the Trojans had lost to in the regular season in Fairmont and Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial. Who started the trend is up for debate, but there hasn’t been a Trojan without the mighty black headband during Worthington’s playoff run to the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
Then there are the superstitions, which should probably be left unsaid.
Andersen and Gerber, for once, gave reasoning behind the laundry of a teenage girl being left on the floor and not picked up by a loving mother to clean.
Until Saturday, Gerber and Andersen had not washed their socks since playoffs began Feb. 25. Two weeks and four games later, the socks have unfortunately — or fortunately, depending how close you’ve had to stand next to Gerber and Andersen after games in recent weeks — been washed.
“I’ve never been more mad at my mom,” Gerber said. “I put them in the laundry room and she washed them, but it’s OK. It was all a mind game anyway.
“It wasn’t planned. We just thought about how crazy it was that we never washed our socks all section and we’d been winning, so we decided to keep them.”
Andersen echoed Gerber’s sentiments.
“My mom went through my bag and washed them on Saturday morning,” Andersen said. “I don’t think she knew. I’m kind of mad at her.”
Unlike the headband idea, the sock thing wasn’t picked up by the rest of the squad.
“I wash my socks every game,” Boever said. “I think (Gerber and Andersen) are the only gross ones that would do that.”
The team may not enjoy the smell, but they do appreciate the efforts of Gerber and Andersen.
“I think the sock thing is a little gross, but it was working,” Landgaard said. “Everyone is doing everything they can to make it as far as we can even if it smells.”
Some even appreciate the socks from a coaching standpoint.
“It keeps people from defending them in the lane because they don’t want to guard the smell,” WHS coach Eric Lindner said. “I don’t care what they do as long as they play hard.
“Anything kids do to get their confidence going is fine by me. If it works for them, keep doing it.”
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy can be reached at 376-7328