TROJAN GIRLS BASKETBALL: Trojans dominate KnightsWORTHINGTON — Passing for the ball for a total of 28 assists Saturday evening, the Worthington Trojans cruised to a convincing 78-42 victory over the visiting Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Passing for the ball for a total of 28 assists Saturday evening, the Worthington Trojans cruised to a convincing 78-42 victory over the visiting Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights.
Many of those assists were distributed to Trojan sharpshooters Ana Boever and Paige Gravenhof, who combined for nine 3-pointers in the game, while finishing with 23 and 16 points, respectively.
Gravenhof, who scored the game’s first basket on a layup off the opening tip, drilled four treys — two in each half — and also had four steals and a team-leading six assists for the Trojans, who improve to 12-3 this season.
“I like a game with a lot of assists,” WHS head coach Eric Lindner said afterwards. “Tonight, all the girls passed the ball well and we ended up with 28 assists as a team, while only having 12 turnovers — which may be an all-time record low for us.”
Boever, who has a smooth left-handed stroke, scored 12 points in the first 18 minutes and connected for 11 more after intermission, including sinking a trio of 3-pointers, as she finished with five treys in the game.
Boever’s effective long-range shooting was a big part of an explosive 3-point exhibition by the Trojans during the second half when Worthington stretched a 46-25 advantage into a 70-36 lead by connecting on seven of eight shots from behind the arc over a four-minute stretch.
After K.C. Riley hit a 3-pointer from the left corner — Worthington’s fifth of the game (the Trojans had two each from both Gravenhof and Boever in the first half) — and Brooke Henning converted a steal for a layup and later sank a free throw, Worthington’s next 18 points came from long-range.
Abbie Landgaard’s assist to Gravenhof for a 3-pointer started the barrage before Lydia Kemper (11 points, three steals) and Boever each hit from behind the arc, extending Worthington’s lead to 61-34 at the 10:32 mark.
Another 3-pointer by Gravenhof and two more by Boever capped the string of seven second-half treys by the Trojans, who had a 34-point lead with 8:47 on the clock.
“We moved the ball and were able execute a couple of our offensive sets against their zone defense,” Lindner said. “It helps when we shoot as well as we did during that stretch of the second half.”
Boever (five assists, three steals) scored a layup off a steal and Kemper converted on a hard drive before Lindner cleared the bench at the 7:39 mark.
With running time in effect, Allie Bruns and Landgaard scored Worthington’s final two baskets, as a total of nine Trojans tallied points in the game.
Trojans utilize 16-0 first-half run to take command early
After Gravenhof’s basket a couple of seconds in, neither team scored for several possessions as the Knights were turning the ball over and the Trojans were missing shots.
LC-WM sophomore Megan Schroeder, who finished with 14 points to lead the Knights, tied the score with a field goal from the left wing two minutes into the game.
Worthington countered with a transition layup by Boever and Gravenhof’s first 3-pointer of the night and held a 7-3 lead with 14:39 on the clock.
But after an inside hoop by Knights’ freshman Rachel Sonnabend sliced the gap to 7-5, the Trojans took command.
Gravenhof fed the ball inside to Whitney Coriolan for a basket and a down pick freed up Boever for her first 3-pointer, giving WHS a seven-point edge.
The early lead ballooned to 14-5 at the 12:12 mark when a well-executed fast break from Boever to Gravenhof to Coriolan resulted in two more Worthington points and a timeout by the Knights.
Coming out of the break, Kemper scored twice in a row — converting on a coast-to-coast drive and then connecting on a transition pull-up jumpshot from 16 feet.
Landgaard’s assist to Gravenhof for a 3-pointer made the score 21-5 with 9:47 to play in the first half.
Worthington continued its scoring assault over the rest of the half, holding leads as large as 23-5, 27-8 and 32-13 before taking a 44-25 advantage into intermission.
Henning (11 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals) scored eight points to lead the Trojans during the last 10 minutes of the first half, while Tracy Thongvanh netted a pair of field goals.
The Knights (4-13), however, countered with their best stretch of the game during that span — matching the Trojans basket-for-basket, keeping the margin at 17 points several times.
“I was pleased with our offense nearly the entire game,” Lindner said. “But our defense during the final nine minutes or so of the first half was not what it needed to be.”
After halftime, the Worthington stiffened its defensive effort — and starting with a transition basket by Landgaard, off an assist from Gravenhof — took complete control, aided the long-range shooting of Riley, Gravenhof, Kemper and Boever.
Riley finished with five assists for the Trojans, while Becca Linder pulled down five rebounds.
Worthington hosts Nobles County rival Adrian in a non-conference game Tuesday. The Dragons (13-3) traditionally give the Trojans a highly-competitive contest.