TROJAN BOYS BASKETBALL: Second-half run dooms TrojansWORTHINGTON — Starting the second half on an impressive 16-2 run Friday night, the Marshall Tigers took command and claimed a huge 76-45 victory over the Worthington Trojans in a key Southwest Conference boys basketball game.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Starting the second half on an impressive 16-2 run Friday night, the Marshall Tigers took command and claimed a huge 76-45 victory over the Worthington Trojans in a key Southwest Conference boys basketball game.
Marshall, which improved to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference, extended a 34-30 halftime lead to 50-32 with 12 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the second half and outscored Worthington 42-15 in the final 18 minutes to post a convincing 31-point win on the road.
“Our kids played very well in the second half, especially on the defensive end of the floor,” first-year Marshall head coach Travis Carroll said. “We did a nice job of staying active and limiting Worthington’s looks at the basket. This was a big win over a good team in a tough place to play.”
Marshall forced Worthington (2-2, 1-2) to turn the ball over 30 times by using a variety of defensive tactics and converted many of those miscues into fastbreak scoring opportunities of its own.
“Give Marshall credit, as their defensive pressure was the key to the ballgame,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said. “They keep coming at you with pressure all over the court and they played very well in the second half. They took it to us, plain and simple.”
Austin Saugstad led Marshall with 17 points, while Derek Buysse and Riley Sharbono each scored 16 points. Hunter Peterson (11) and Tanner Bukowski (nine) combined for 20 more points for the balanced Tigers.
Morgan Traylor scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the first half and collected five rebounds for Worthington. Will Dudley added 11 points and five rebounds for the Trojans, who held several leads in the initial 18 minutes.
Marcus Potter (four points, eight assists) passed to Josh Vander Veen for a 3-pointer in the right corner just 14 seconds into the game, as Worthington took an early 3-0 advantage.
The Trojans’ lead grew to 9-2 with 16:26 showing on the clock, as Traylor scored three straight baskets — on a high-low feed from Dudley, a 12-footer in the lane and a quick baseline drive — to get Worthington off to a strong start.
Spencer Grafing’s 18-footer from the left wing helped Worthington maintain a seven-point cushion (13-6) at the 13:05 mark, while Dylan Gravenhof’s driving basket down the left side of the lane gave the Trojans a 17-12 lead with 9:47 remaining.
“Worthington came out of the gate playing well,” Carroll said. “Traylor is a tremendous player and gave us some trouble down low. But our guys didn’t panic and we ended up hitting some big shots late in the first half.”
Indeed, the Tigers did.
Marshall went on a 9-2 burst to take its first lead (21-19) at the 7:04 mark. Saugstad scored seven of those points — four on a pair of driving baskets — and delivered a 3-point play off a steal to put the Tigers in front.
Transition baskets by Sharbono and Peterson increased Marshall’s lead to 25-20 with 6:07 to go, but Worthington regained a 26-25 lead after Dudley, Traylor and Potter each scored on slashes through the paint.
Traylor scored twice more inside off of assists from Dudley and Potter to help the Trojans take a 30-29 lead, but a pair of late 3-pointers from the right wing by Buysse — who had earlier scored back-to-back layups off of steals — helped the Tigers earn a 34-30 halftime lead.
Marshall’s fullcourt press and trapping schemes helped turn the tide late in the first half and continued as the second half got underway. The Tigers held the Trojans to just two points — a basket in the paint by Traylor at the 15:48 mark — in the first eight minutes following the intermission.
Marshall forced lots of turnovers and received consecutive 3-pointers from Bukowski and Peterson, along with hoops from Saugstad, Sharbono, Spencer Petrich and Aaron Mathiowetz, to outscore Worthington 16-2 in the initial six minutes for a 50-32 lead with 12:10 to play.
Dudley broke the Trojans’ scoring drought by sinking a free throw at the 10:03 mark and then drained a pair of shots from the high-post area to help trim the gap to 13 (52-39) with 8:15 remaining.
However, a 3-point play by Peterson and a basket off a backdoor cut along the baseline by Saugstad (Bukowski assist) helped keep Marshall in full control with a 63-43 cushion at the 6:19 mark.
The Tigers’ largest lead was 76-44 after Adam Kovash netted a free throw with 51.3 seconds to go. Randy Traylor then got on the board with a free throw for the Trojans with 42.2 seconds left.
“Marshall outhustled us and beat us down the floor several times in the second half,” Vorwald said. “We had a lot of careless turnovers and didn’t get many good shots off. It was another tough night for us, that’s for sure.”
Worthington travels to play Pipestone Area on Thursday, while Marshall visits Jackson County Central on Tuesday.
Marshall 76, Worthington 45
Marshall (2-1, 2-0 SWC): Mathiowetz 2 0-0 4, Johnson 0 0-1 0, Peterson 4 1-1 11, Saugstad 7 3-6 17, Buysse 6 2-2 16, Sharbono 6 4-6 16, Bukowski 3 2-2 9, Kovash 0 1-2 1, Petrich 1 0-0 2. Totals: 29 13-20 76.
Worthington (2-2, 1-2 SWC): Vander Veen 1 0-0 3, Dudley 5 1-3 11, Potter 1 2-2 4, Gravenhof 1 1-2 3, M. Traylor 9 2-3 20, Grafing 1 1-2 3, R. Traylor 0 1-2 1. Totals: 18 8-14 45.
Halftime: Marshall 34, Worthington 30. 3-Point Goals: Marshall 5 (Peterson 2, Buysse 2, Bukowski); Worthington 1 (Vander Veen).