BOYS BASKETBALL: WHS tops Fairmont with second-half runTraylor has 22 points, 14 rebounds as Trojans take opener
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Putting together an 18-3 run midway through the second half Tuesday night, the Worthington Trojans opened up a 15-point lead and claimed a 69-61 victory over the Fairmont Cardinals in a key non-conference boys basketball game to begin the season at Worthington High School.
Morgan Traylor led Worthington (1-0) with a huge 22-point, 14-rebound double-double, as he scored 11 points in each half to spark a balanced overall attack for the Trojans.
Marcus Potter (seven assists) and Jon Vorwald (four assists) both scored 13 points for the Trojans, while Will Dudley (eight rebounds) scored 11 points to give Worthington four players in double figures.
“This was a very good way to start the season,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said. “A win at home over a really solid Fairmont team is just what we wanted to accomplish. I was happy with our second-half defensive effort and with how we took care of the ball and executed offensively, as well.”
Worthington led 37-35 at halftime and broke the game open during a span of nearly 7 minutes in the middle stages of the second half. With the score tied at 39 and 16:37 showing on the clock, the Trojans scored 18 of the next 21 points to mount a 57-42 advantage at the 9:48 mark.
“We let things get away from us a little bit during that stretch,” Fairmont head coach Jared Thompson said. “Worthington’s man-to-man defensive pressure dictated our offense and took some things away from us. The presence of Traylor down low was also a major contributing factor in the final outcome, as he was a tough matchup for us.”
Worthington’s largest lead was 67-47 with 4:21 remaining, but Fairmont (1-1) scored 14 of the game’s last 16 points to close the gap to eight by the final buzzer.
The Trojans also led for the majority of the first half and had a 35-23 lead with 3:21 to go, but the Cardinals used a 12-0 spurt to get back in contention (tied at 35) with 14 seconds showing.
Traylor then finished the first half with a basket inside and then opened the second half with a bucket in the paint, as Worthington led 39-35 just 21 seconds in.
Fairmont’s Bryce Holm (14 points) and Jay Ruen (seven points) each scored to tie the game at 39 a minute later, but Worthington started to take command — getting four consecutive defensive stops and also turning in a string of five straight defensive stops a bit later — and built a 15-point cushion.
An 18-footer from the top of the key by Potter, a steal and coast-to-coast basket by Vorwald and an interior hoop off a nifty post move by Dudley lifted the Trojans to a 45-39 by the 14:30 mark.
Potter later found Dudley for a basket underneath off a flex cut, while Traylor scored on a pair of offensive-rebound chances to help make it 52-42 with 11:03 showing.
Vorwald then penetrated and passed to Carter Lindner for a mid-range shot along the right baseline, while Potter made a pass to Will Mulder for a 3-pointer in the left corner to cap Worthington’s 18-3 surge — extending the lead to 57-42 with 9:48 remaining.
A 3-point play by Fairmont’s Josh Eversman (nine points) briefly put the brakes on Worthington’s 15-point run, but the Trojans stayed in control and were soon up by 20. The Trojans’ Josh Vander Veen (five assists) nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to help make it 67-47 with 4:21 to go.
Fairmont’s 14-2 burst in the closing minutes accounted for more than half of its 26 points after intermission, but the Cardinals were able to play evenly with the Trojans to begin the game.
Holm scored Fairmont’s first eight points by netting four straight shots from the high-post area. Levi Becker’s driving basket then gave the Cardinals a 10-8 edge with 14:21 left in the first half.
A pair of assists by Vander Veen to Vorwald (3-pointer) and Potter (18-footer) for perimeter jumpers helped the Trojans take a 15-13 lead by the 12:03 mark, while 3-point plays by Dudley and Traylor increased Worthington’s margin to 23-18 with 7:03 remaining.
Potter meshed a couple of floaters in the lane, Vorwald knocked down another 3-pointer, and Dudley scored off a high-low feed from Traylor to then highlight a 12-5 run for Worthington that extended the gap to 35-23 with 3:21 showing.
Mitch Pfingsten, who scored 32 points in the Cardinals' 70-60 season-opening win over Windom Area last Saturday, scored just six points — all in the first half — but a well-contested 3-pointer from the left wing triggered a 12-0 run that put Fairmont back in the game right before halftime.
Worthington travels to play Windom Area on Friday, while Fairmont visits Marshall on Saturday.
WORTHINGTON 69, FAIRMONT 61
FAIRMONT (1-1): Pfingsten 2 1-3 6, Schwieger 1 0-0 3, Holm 7 0-0 14, Eversman 4 1-1 9, Noll 2 3-6 8, Le. Becker 2 1-2 5, Ruen 3 1-1 7, Roggow 3 1-2 7, Chirpich 1 0-0 2. Totals: 25 8-15 61.
WORTHINGTON (1-0): Vorwald 5 1-2 13, Vander Veen 1 0-0 3, Dudley 5 1-3 11, Potter 6 1-2 13, Mulder 2 0-0 5, Traylor 10 2-4 22, Lindner 1 0-0 2. Totals: 30 5-11 69.
Halftime: Worthington 37, Fairmont 35. 3-Point Goals: Fairmont 3 (Pfingsten 1, Schwieger 1, Noll 1); Worthington 4 (Vorwald 2, Vander Veen 1, Mulder 1). Rebounds: Fairmont 19 (Eversman 5); Worthington 33 (Traylor 14, Dudley 8). Assists: Fairmont 14 (Le. Becker 5); Worthington 20 (Potter 7, Vander Veen 5, Vorwald 4). Turnovers: Fairmont 5, Worthington 12.