BOYS BASKETBALL: Consistent effort nets Trojans' winBalance key as 11 players score for WHS
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Outscoring the Fulda Raiders by the exact same 43-31 margin in each half, the Worthington Trojans claimed an 86-62 victory on their home court in non-conference boys basketball action Monday night.
Eleven players cracked the scoring column for the Trojans, who had 23 team assists on 36 field goals and started the second half on a 23-9 run over the initial 7 minutes to build a commanding 66-40 advantage.
Morgan Traylor (22 points, seven rebounds), Marcus Potter (17 points, six assists), Carter Lindner (12 points) and Spencer Grafing (10 points) each scored in double figures for Worthington, which improves to 8-4 overall.
“We played better than we did the other night (a 79-69 loss to Redwood Valley last Friday) and took a step in the right direction,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said after the game. “The biggest thing is that we wanted to play harder, particularly on the defensive end of the court. And for the most part, our defensive effort was pretty good.”
The Trojans, in fact, got nine consecutive defensive stops — seven to end the first half and two to begin the second half — to help take command of the game.
Fulda (5-8) held the lead a couple of different times in the first half and was within 37-31 before going scoreless during the final 3 minutes, 26 seconds prior to halftime — allowing Worthington to score the final six points for a 43-31 advantage at the break.
“We played really well for most of the first half, although we missed out on some chances late that helped changed the momentum,” Fulda head coach Colby Pack said. “But I’m proud of our effort, as we played hard and executed our gameplan against a solid Worthington team for a good portion of the first half. We hit some outside shots early on and were aggressive going to the basket.”
Fulda drew several Worthington fouls and got to the free-throw line frequently, but didn’t necessarily shoot well from there — going 11-for-19 in the first half and finishing 20-for-38.
The Raiders, though, were hot from beyond the 3-point line to start the game. Andy Oakland (eight points) buried a left-wing 3-pointer 25 seconds in for a quick 3-0 Fulda lead.
Todd Peterson (13 points, six rebounds) later dialed in three consecutive 3-pointers — all from different spots and within a span of 69 seconds — to give the Raiders a 12-11 edge with 14:26 to go.
Fulda also ran the floor well and kept pace behind baskets by Trevor Ruesch (five points, three assists) and Zach Holt (13 points, six steals and three assists) to pull even with Worthington at 16 with 12:15 remaining.
However, the Trojans created some separation over the next several minutes. Traylor took over inside for a stretch and scored on a pair of over-the-top lob passes from Josh Vander Veen (five points) to help Worthington build a 30-20 lead by the 8:44 mark.
Potter sliced through the lane for a basket, and Will Dudley (seven points, 11 rebounds) scored down low off a high-post feed from Will Mulder to give the Trojans a 34-23 lead with 6:32 left.
Fulda then went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line to pull within six (37-31) at the 3:26 mark. Peterson netted all four of his attempts, while Ruesch and Cole Dierks (eight points) both sank a pair of shots from 15 feet away.
Lindner scored on a cut in the paint (Dudley assist) and a nifty spin move in transition, while Grafing added a reverse layup (Potter assist) in the open court during the last 2:22 to double the Trojans’ lead to 43-31.
“Carter gave us a spark off the bench,” Vorwald said. “We had a lot of guys play well for us and we played unselfish with an inside-out approach. It was nice to get everybody some playing time during the second half.”
Worthington did indeed get all of its players into the game in the second half, as the Trojans’ 23-9 surge in the opening seven minutes created a 66-40 bulge at the 10:58 mark.
Jon Vorwald, who is still recovering from a jaw injury and didn’t play in the Trojans’ last two games, helped ignite Worthington’s 14-point run with a basket in the paint and a transition assist to Grafing for a left-wing 3-pointer.
Vander Veen knocked down a trey in the left corner (Potter assist), and Dylan Gravenhof (four assists) passed to Traylor and Vander Veen for hoops to help Worthington pull away.
The Trojans’ largest lead was 82-50 with 3:12 showing on the clock. Brandon Gray (baseline 15-footer), Dudley (steal and layup), Lindner (two buckets underneath), Jesse Guerra (free throw), Mulder (putback basket) and Randy Traylor (two interior hoops) each scored to highlight Worthington’s late-game action.
Dierks, Holt, Oakland and Josh Ramerth each hit a 3-pointer in the second half for Fulda, while Nate Getting, Matt Kunerth and Bennett Appel each scored a basket to help trim the final margin to 86-62.
Fulda had 10 players score in the game, as Kole Kramer (four rebounds) meshed a free throw in the first half. The Raiders travel to play Southwest Christian tonight.
Worthington hosts Windom Friday in a girls-boys doubleheader.
WORTHINGTON 86, FULDA 62
FULDA (5-8): Dierks 2 3-3 8, Ramerth 1 3-7 6, Ruesch 1 3-5 5, Kunerth 1 2-2 4, Kramer 0 1-5 1, Holt 4 4-10 13, Appel 1 0-0 2, Getting 1 0-2 2, Peterson 3 4-4 13, Oakland 3 0-0 8. Totals: 17 20-38 62.
WORTHINGTON (8-4): Gray 1 0-0 2, Vorwald 2 0-0 4, Vander Veen 2 0-0 5, Dudley 3 1-1 7, Potter 8 1-2 17, Mulder 1 0-0 2, Guerra 0 1-2 1, M. Traylor 10 2-4 22, Grafing 3 2-2 10, R. Traylor 2 0-0 4, Lindner 4 4-6 12. Totals: 36 11-17 86.
Fulda 31 31 — 62
Worthington 43 43 — 86
3-Point Goals: Fulda 8 (Peterson 3, Oakland 2, Dierks, Ramerth, Holt); Worthington 3 (Grafing 2, Vander Veen).