TROJAN BOYS BASKETBALL: Trojans defeat EaglesWORTHINGTON — Morgan Traylor produced a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double that included five two-handed slam dunks Friday night, helping the Worthington Trojans claim a 69-62 victory over the Windom Eagles in a Southwest Conference boys basketball game.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Morgan Traylor produced a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double that included five two-handed slam dunks Friday night, helping the Worthington Trojans claim a 69-62 victory over the Windom Eagles in a Southwest Conference boys basketball game.
Traylor opened the Trojans’ scoring in each half with a huge jam, as Worthington held a double-digit advantage for the majority of the game and improves to 9-4 overall and 4-3 in the conference.
Windom (6-8, 1-6) did pull within four points on two separate occasions in the final 7 minutes behind the tough guard play of Andy Pfeffer and Collin Lovell — who each finished with 20 points — but Worthington held on down the stretch.
“Any win in the Southwest Conference is a big one, as this league is very solid from top to bottom,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said after the game. “Windom is a good team and a very difficult team to put away, as they hung in there and made us work for this win. Our kids played hard and showed some poise to keep the lead.”
Jon Vorwald (13 points, four assists), Spencer Grafing (12 points, seven rebounds and four assists), Will Dudley (eight points, nine rebounds) and Marcus Potter (six points) were among the other key contributors for the Trojans, who led 39-23 after a reverse dunk in the open court by Traylor at the 3:37 mark of the first half.
Worthington’s largest lead was 35-18 two minutes earlier. The Trojans moved the ball effectively and controlled the boards to take command during the opening stages of the game.
Dudley’s post-to-post pass to Traylor for a dunk started the scoring 26 seconds in, and the Trojans bolted out to a quick 8-2 lead after ensuing baskets from Potter, Dudley and Grafing.
A trio of 3-pointers — two by Grafing and one from Vorwald — helped stretch Worthington’s cushion to 22-9 with 10:04 remaining.
Carter Lindner then scored a pair of baskets off assists from Grafing and Vorwald prior to two more dunks from Traylor and a right-elbow jumper by Josh Vander Veen that helped produce the 39-23 margin.
Windom, though, closed the half on a 7-1 run to trim the gap to 40-30 by halftime. Nathan Remmers (10 points) netted two free throws and scored on a fast break, while Lovell (driving layup) and Jacob Gotto (free throw) also scored to pace the Eagles.
Worthington maintained a comfortable lead to start the second half and was up 51-37 with 10:41 on the clock. Traylor scored nine of the Trojans’ first 11 points, including four on a couple more dunks.
But Windom put together an 11-1 surge to get back into contention. Baskets by Jacob Johnson and Trenton Bever helped trigger the Eagles’ rally, while Pfeffer — who was 10-for-13 at the free-throw line — hit an 18-footer and sank five foul shots to make it 52-48 at the 6:52 mark.
Vorwald responded with a much-needed 3-pointer for the Trojans, while Traylor took a steal in for a layup to make it 57-48 Worthington with 6:11 to go. Vorwald buried another 3-pointer a minute later, as the Trojans were seemingly back in control with a 60-50 advantage.
However, Windom came right back. Pfeffer knocked down two more free throws and drilled a long 3-pointer before Lovell delivered a key 3-point play to make it 62-58 with 2:50 remaining.
That’s as close as it got, as Dudley scored down low and Grafing hit two free throws to complement several defensive stops for a 66-58 Trojans’ lead with less than 30 seconds left.
Lovell scored on a pair of drives in the closing moments, but those four points were offset by three free throws (two by Traylor, one by Potter) to create the final 69-62 margin.
“We just about got it done, as we played pretty well in the second half to battle back,” Windom head coach Dane Nielsen said. “We’ve been so close all year long, playing every team in the conference — except Marshall — really tough for the most part. Our guys simply don’t quit, and it’s a pleasure to coach them.”
Bryce Bever pulled down a team-leading 12 rebounds for Windom, while Pfeffer and Gotto each hustled for four steals.
Worthington is off until Friday when it travels to play Redwood Valley. Windom hosts Murray County Central Monday.
WINDOM (6-8, 1-6): A. Pfeffer 4 10-13 20, Johnson 1 0-0 2, T. Bever 2 0-1 4, Gotto 1 3-4 5, B. Bever 0 1-2 1, Lovell 8 3-3 20, Remmers 4 2-2 10. Totals: 20 19-25 62.
WORTHINGTON (9-4, 4-3): Vorwald 4 2-3 13, Vander Veen 1 0-0 2, Dudley 3 2-3 8, Potter 2 2-9 6, M. Traylor 10 4-8 24, Grafing 4 2-2 12, Lindner 2 0-0 4. Totals: 26 12-25 69.
Windom 30 32 — 62
Worthington 40 29 — 69
3-Point Goals: Windom 3 (A. Pfeffer 2, Lovell); Worthington 5 (Vorwald 3, Grafing 2). Rebounds: Windom 27 (B. Bever 12); Worthington 31 (M. Traylor 11, Dudley 9, Grafing 7). Turnovers: Windom 16; Worthington 13.