BOYS BASKETBALL: Trojans knock off EaglesDudley, Traylor pace WHS with double-doubles
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WINDOM — A 12-0 surge late in the first half was a deciding factor in Friday night’s Southwest Conference boys basketball game, as the Worthington Trojans built a 14-point lead and then held on to claim a 72-64 victory over the Windom Eagles.
Double-doubles from the interior duo of Will Dudley (20 points, 13 rebounds) and Morgan Traylor (16 points, 15 rebounds) sparked the Trojans’ winning effort, while Josh Vander Veen (17 points, five assists) provided an outside shooting presence with four 3-pointers for Worthington — which improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
“That was a hard-fought, physical ballgame and a good win for us,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said. “Windom is a good team and played very hard all the way to the end. We were able to build a decent lead midway through and then had to survive down the stretch.”
Windom’s Collin Lovell (eight rebounds, seven steals) scored 17 of his team-best 20 points in the second half to spark an Eagles’ comeback bid. Bryce Bever (11 points), Nathan Remmers (10 points, five rebounds) and Andy Pfeffer (nine points, five steals) were among the other key contributors for Windom (1-2, 0-1), which trimmed the margin to five on three separate occasions in the closing minutes.
“We do have a bunch of hard-working, resilient players up-and-down our roster,” Windom head coach Dane Nielsen said. “We battled back and gave ourselves somewhat of a chance at the end, but give Worthington credit. They really outplayed us for about a 2- or 3-minute stretch late in the first half, and that was a big difference in the final outcome.”
Windom effectively played a 2-3 zone defense in an attempt to slow down Worthington’s inside game and it worked for much of the first half. The Eagles earned first-half leads of 12-10, 14-12, 17-12, 17-14 and 18-17 (with 7:30 remaining) behind a 4-point play by Pfeffer, a 3-pointer by Jacob Johnson and a couple of slashing hoops apiece from Bever and Remmers.
However, back-to-back 3-pointers from the top of the key by Vander Veen and Jon Vorwald (eight points, seven assists) helped lift Worthington back in front. Dudley had scored eight of the Trojans’ first 10 points to give the visitors early leads of 2-0, 4-2, 6-2, 8-6 and 10-8.
Worthington led 25-23 at the 4:16 mark and then scored 12 straight points to mount a 37-23 advantage with 1:53 remaining. A pair of 3-pointers from Vander Veen, along with a 12-footer along the left baseline by Traylor, triggered that game-changing sequence.
“We had a lot of guys step up and give us valuable minutes,” Ron Vorwald said. “Our point guard Marcus Potter was in foul trouble the whole night and didn’t play much, but we did some good things and were able to move the ball well enough to get good shots. Josh Vander Veen kind of got things going for us in the first half.”
Vander Veen scored 14 first-half points, while Dudley finished with 10 points before the break to help send Worthington into the locker room with a 37-27 halftime lead.
The Trojans then maintained control early in the second half, taking their largest lead (51-36) when Dylan Gravenhof netted a 3-pointer with 10:24 showing on the clock. A baseline floater by Potter, a transition 3-pointer by Vander Veen and a pull-up jumper by Dudley were also highlights that helped keep Worthington up by double digits.
Windom, though, slowly started to climb back into contention. A 3-pointer by Jacob Gotto made it a nine-point margin (51-42) with 7:30 remaining, while a 7-0 Eagles’ run — which included two free throws from both Remmers and Trenton Bever prior to a 3-pointer by Pfeffer — later made it an eight-point spread (60-52) at the 4:02 mark.
Vorwald (spin move) and Traylor (offensive rebound) countered with buckets for Worthington, but back-to-back baskets by Lovell and Remmers off of steals — created by full-court pressure — helped bring Windom within five (64-59) with 2:22 left.
The Eagles were also within five with 1:07 to go (67-62) and with 45 seconds remaining (69-64), but a press-breaking layup by Will Mulder (Vorwald assist) and some accurate free-throw shooting by Dudley (4-for-4 in the last two minutes, 8-for-8 in the game) helped the Trojans secure a 72-64 victory.
Worthington hosts Luverne Tuesday, while Windom travels to play Pipestone Area Thursday.