TROJAN BOYS BASKETBALL: Trojans outlast YellowjacketsWORTHINGTON — Will Mulder went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line after regulation and scored a key basket in the second overtime Friday night, helping lift the Worthington Trojans to a thrilling 79-70 victory over the Perham Yellowjackets in the championship game of the 15th Annual Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic boys’ basketball tournament at Worthington High School.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Will Mulder went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line after regulation and scored a key basket in the second overtime Friday night, helping lift the Worthington Trojans to a thrilling 79-70 victory over the Perham Yellowjackets in the championship game of the 15th Annual Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic boys’ basketball tournament at Worthington High School.
Worthington’s double-overtime win gave the Trojans their first holiday tournament crown since at least 2003 and capped another exciting two-day event featuring four closely-contested games between four quality teams.
“This really is a great tournament, and we enjoy coming down here each year,” said Perham head coach Dave Cresap, who has taken his team to this tournament for about the past 10 seasons. “We always know that we are going to be treated well and also have an opportunity to play two very good teams.
“I’m proud of our guys for the way we fought back in this game,” Cresap continued. “We were down by eight points several times in the second half and came back to force overtime. But you have to give Worthington credit, as they made some key plays on both ends of the floor to come out on top.”
With Worthington holding a 68-67 edge in the second overtime, Spencer Grafing blocked a Perham shot, and Morgan Traylor (16 points, 11 rebounds) muscled up an offensive-rebound basket on the other end to give the Trojans a 70-67 lead with a minute and 48 seconds to play.
Worthington’s Will Dudley (16 points, 13 rebounds) then blocked a shot on Perham’s ensuing possession, leading to a transition basket by Mulder on a lead pass from Marcus Potter (23 points, seven assists) to put the Trojans up 72-67 with 1:23 remaining.
The Trojans continued to get defensive stops in the closing moments, while Mulder (four) and Potter (three) combined to bury seven free throws in the last minute to help Worthington capture a nine-point victory.
“This was certainly a hard-fought ballgame and a real good win for us,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said. “It’s always a great matchup between us and Perham, as we both have a lot of basketball tradition. I’m very proud of our guys for battling and finding a way to get the job done.”
Worthington was seemingly in control throughout most of the second half and led 63-58 after Mulder passed to Potter for a basket off a flex cut down low with 53 seconds remaining.
But Perham’s Jordan Hein (10 points) scored inside with 31 seconds left to make it 63-60, and Worthington missed the front end of a pair of one-and-one free-throw chances to leave the door open for the Yellowjackets.
Perham called a timeout with 10 seconds on the clock and set up a play to tie the score, executing it to perfection to send the game to overtime. Josh Nordick drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key behind a high screen with two seconds to go, pulling the Yellowjackets even at 63.
Perham then led 67-65 with less than a minute to play in the first extra session, but Mulder (15 points, five assists) netted two free throws with 23.5 seconds left to tie it at 67.
Each team had a chance in the final 15 seconds, but a turnover on Perham and a missed shot at the buzzer by Worthington sent the game into a second overtime.
“We didn’t panic after giving up the 3-pointer at the end of regulation,” Vorwald said. “We just kept on playing basketball, as we got some big defensive stops and hit a few clutch free throws. I also thought we got after all of the loose balls and really played hard the whole game.”
Worthington effectively played a 1-2-2 zone defense in the second half to slow down Perham’s penetrating offensive capabilities and was able to build a two- or three-possession lead as a result.
Mulder opened the Trojans’ scoring after halftime with a 3-pointer from the top of the key 19 seconds in, giving Worthington a 32-30 lead.
An interior basket by Traylor and a coast-to-coast layup off a loose-ball pickup by Potter later put Worthington up 37-32. A 3-point play by Traylor — off an inside feed from Potter — gave the Trojans a 40-32 advantage at the 13:59 mark.
Baskets by Hein, Eli Beachy (nine points), Tyler Glines (14 points) and Hunter Salathe (16 points) helped the Yellowjackets trim the margin to 45-43 with 10:10 on the clock, but back-to-back buckets by Potter off flex cuts underneath put the Trojans up 49-43 at the nine-minute mark.
Mulder then hit a 12-foot pull-up jumper along the baseline to make it 51-43, while Dudley later scored on a drive to give Worthington a 53-45 lead with 6:42 to play.
However, Perham started to solve Worthington’s zone defense when Jacob Anderson (nine points) drilled a trio of 3-pointers — each in the left corner — within a 90-second span to help make it a 57-54 spread with 4:28 remaining.
Glines then scored on a baseline drive to make it 57-56, and Perham was also within one (59-58) after Hein scored in the lane with 3:04 to go.
Worthington took a 61-58 lead when Potter passed to Dudley for a basket underneath off a baseline out-of-bounds play with 1:53 left.
A defensive stop and a patient offensive possession that resulted in a basket by Potter (Mulder assist) gave the Trojans a 63-58 lead with less than minute to go — setting up the remaining action.
“The effort by both teams was outstanding,” Cresap said. “Worthington’s size got to us a little bit and may have been a difference, but we hung in there and worked our way back. We executed the play at the end of regulation and gave ourselves a chance to win, which is all you can really ask for.”
The first half was close all the way, with neither team leading by more than five points. Top-of-the-key 3-pointers by Grafing and Dudley helped Worthington take a 14-9 lead with 11:12 showing on the clock.
Nordick and Nick Bahls answered with a 3-pointer apiece, while Salathe slashed inside for a pair of hoops to help Perham take a 21-18 lead with 7:30 remaining.
Worthington’s Dylan Gravenhof then knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner and drew a charge on the defensive end. Carter Lindner later scored inside off a nifty pass from Grafing to give the Trojans a 27-26 lead at the 2:35 mark.
Glines penetrated along the baseline to create a pair of hoops in the final two minutes, scoring once and also passing to Salathe for a basket to help Perham take a 30-29 halftime lead.
“This was once again a very good tournament,” Vorwald said. “We played well and it’s always nice to play well at home in front of your own fans. We want to build off of this and continue to get better going forward.”
Worthington (5-2) plays at Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Thursday, while Perham (5-4) visits Barnesville Friday.
Worthington 79, Perham 70 (2OT)
Perham (5-4): Beachy 2 5-6 9, Salathe 6 4-4 16, Glines 5 3-5 14, Bahls 2 0-0 6, Anderson 3 0-0 9, Hein 5 0-0 10, Nordick 2 0-0 6. Totals: 25 12-15 70.
Worthington (5-2): Dudley 6 3-4 16, Potter 10 3-5 23, Gravenhof 1 0-0 3, Mulder 4 6-7 15, M. Traylor 6 4-9 16, Grafing 1 1-3 4, Lindner 1 0-0 2. Totals: 29 17-28 79.
Halftime: Perham 30, Worthington 29. Regulation: Perham 63, Worthington 63. First Overtime: Perham 67, Worthington 67. 3-Point Goals: Perham 8 (Anderson 3, Bahls 2, Nordick 2, Glines); Worthington 4 (Dudley, Gravenhof, Mulder, Grafing). Rebounds: Perham 26, Worthington 40 (Dudley 13, M. Traylor 11). Turnovers: Perham 10, Worthington 14