BOYS BASKETBALL: Trojans run away lateVorwald, Traylor explode in second half
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Morgan Traylor sparked the fuse and Jon Vorwald fanned the flames as the Worthington boys basketball team exploded for 27 points in the game’s final 9 minutes for an 82-62 non-conference victory over the Ellsworth on Monday.
Traylor slammed down a trio of dunks and finished with game-highs of 23 points and 16 rebounds to go with two steals, while Vorwald scored a career-high 22 points with five 3-pointers and added three assists and blocked one shot.
While the Trojans took a 36-33 lead into the intermission, it was a back-and-forth game early with Ellsworth holding as large as a nine-point lead in the first half and briefly recapturing the lead in the second half.
However, Traylor created a steal and slammed down his first dunk to give the Trojans a 50-49 lead with 10:09 to play — a lead the hosts wouldn’t relinquish.
Two minutes later, Traylor turned a Marcus Potter pass in the paint into a slam and then grabbed another steal and went coast-to-coast for his third dunk, giving Worthington a nine-point bulge (62-53) with 7:39 left.
“At halftime we were talking and we said that we had to work harder,” Traylor said. “(The dunks) were mostly off hustle plays — a couple of steals and a little shovel pass by Marcus (Potter).
“Whenever I really dunk it, our team just gets jacked and screaming and the adrenaline is going for everybody. It just gets us in our groove.”
It took a little while for the Trojans to capitalize on that energy created by Traylor, as Potter scored Worthington’s only bucket off a Will Dudley steal while Ellsworth received baskets by D’Shaun Herman and Drew Cheskie over the next 3 minutes as the score ran to 64-58 with 5 minutes to go.
That’s when Vorwald got hot.
The senior guard, who had eight points at halftime, scored the game’s next 12 points in a span of 92 seconds. Spencer Grafing made a crosscourt pass to Vorwald on the right wing for the first 3 of the spurt.
“Morgan really got it started up, getting everybody going with a couple of dunks,” Vorwald said. “And then my teammates found me open and I just kept shooting and they kept going in.”
Following a defensive stop, Vorwald buried a perimeter shot from the left corner with 4:15 left and then buried another 3 from the left corner 45 seconds later off a Dudley assist to push the lead to 73-58.
Vorwald finished his spurt by converting a conventional 3-point play by going up over Ellsworth defenders on the left block and making the ensuing free throw to make it 76-58. Worthington received a steal and four points from Carter Lindner and a baseline drive bucket from Randy Traylor the rest of the way, while Cheskie scored Ellsworth’s final two baskets for the 82-62 final.
“We went on a nice run and we got some stops,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said. “(Ellsworth) played hard. Coach Roberts had them ready and they played extremely hard. We struggled putting the ball in the hole and we didn’t play very good defense — we were just lethargic in the first half.
“But we got going in the second half. Morgan sparked us with his dunks, Jonny hitting some 3’s, and Marcus penetrating and finding some open guys as we got things going.”
Worthington opened the scoring after Morgan Traylor won the tipoff as Potter dished to Grafing on the left wing for a 3-pointer and the game’s first lead.
Potter finished with 12 assists, 13 points and three steals, while Grafing added eight points.
Ellsworth answered with a 3 from Mitch Leuthold off a Daniel Kramer steal and assist to make it 3-3 early.
Following two free throws by Potter and a basket by Cheskie, Kramer assisted Leuthold on another 3 to give Ellsworth its first lead (8-5) 4 minutes into the game.
Cheskie finished with team-highs of 21 points and seven rebounds, while Leuthold scored 17 points on four 3’s and Kramer and Herman each added 12 points. Kramer also had six assists and three steals.
Vorwald sank his first 3 of the game (Potter assist) in response to the Panthers’ first lead, but the visitors continued to stay in front as Herman scored from the left baseline off a Kramer assist and Leuthold added a basket in the paint to offset a Morgan Traylor bucket.
A 9-2 run helped Ellsworth create a 21-12 lead with 10 minutes left in the first half. Kramer and Cheskie scored some second- and third-chance baskets in the paint for the visitors in that span.
“(Ellsworth) played really hard,” Jon Vorwald said. “They really battled on the offensive glass for a lot of putbacks. Towards the end, we started locking down on defense a little better and getting our defensive boards.”
Worthington answered with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 21 — capped off by a Jon Vorwald 3-pointer — with 8:14 left in the first half.
A 3 from Leuthold put Ellsworth in front (24-21) with under 7 minutes to go, but it was the Panthers final lead of the opening 18 minutes as the Trojans closed out the first half on a 15-9 run.
Morgan Traylor scored eight of the Worthington’s points, while Josh Vander Veen and Potter each added a steal and a layup and Grafing added a 3-pointer. Ellsworth’s points in the spell before half came from Cheskie with six, Herman with two and a free throw from Leuthold.
Following the intermission, a Jon Vorwald drive gave Worthington a five-point lead (38-33), but Ellsworth kept the game close as Cheskie converted a 3-point play.
The Trojans’ lead grew to six points (47-41) over the next several minutes before a Herman basket sparked an Ellsworth run that gave the Panthers the lead for the final time. Kramer hit an 18-footer to close the gap to two and then tied the game at 47 with 11 minutes left with a driving basket.
A putback basket by Leuthold gave Ellsworth a 49-47 lead 30 seconds later before Dudley made 1 of 2 free throws prior to Morgan Traylor’s first slam that changed the game’s energy.
“We knew coming into this game that it was going to be a battle,” Ellsworth head coach JD Roberts said. “I don’t like to play zone, but we played zone because we knew that we would struggle with (Worthington’s) quickness and size. So we decided that we were going to make them beat us from the outside and they did. Worthington played very well and they are a very good team.”
Worthington made eight 3-pointers in the game, while Ellsworth had four 3’s.
While it lost, Ellsworth (6-11 overall) responded well and played well following a 66-65 double-overtime loss in the Red Rock Conference to Westbrook-Walnut Grove on Saturday.
“I was devastated (following Saturday’s game),” Roberts added. “The kids were a little more upbeat in their attitude. I wasn’t really sure what to tell the guys but they came out and played hard and that excites me.
“We’ve had our ups and downs this season, but all you can really ask from the kids is that they come out and play hard every day. Hopefully, we can turn things around and keep playing hard.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Panthers as they travel to Edgerton tonight to play Red Rock Conference front-runner Southwest Christian.
Meanwhile, Worthington improved to 10-5 overall. The Trojans return to Southwest Conference play Friday with a home contest against Pipestone Area.
“We expect a good ballgame,” Ron Vorwald said. “When you’re in the Southwest Conference, you’re in for a battle. (Pipestone Area) has some very good players and their record (5-9 overall) is not indicative of how good a ballclub they have.
“We need to be ready. We need to have three good days of practice — prepare and be ready for Friday night.”
Friday night’s game, which is “Parent’s Night”, is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
WORTHINGTON 82, ELLSWORTH 62
ELLSWORTH (6-11): Meester 0 0-0 0, Nolte 0 0-0 0, Lewis 0 0-0 0 Kurrasch 0 0-0 0, Hinrichs 0 0-0 0, D. Kramer 4 4-5 12, Leuthold 6 1-3 17, Herman 5 2-3 12, Cheskie 10 1-3 21. Totals: 25 8-14 62.
WORTHINGTON (10-5): J. Vorwald 8 1-1 22, Vander Veen 1 0-0 2, Dudley 3 2-3 8, Potter 5 2-2 13, Gravenhof 0 0-0 0, Guerra 0 0-0 0, M. Traylor 10 3-8 23, Grafing 3 0-0 8, R. Traylor 1 0-0 2, Weg 0 0-0 0, Woll 0 0-0 0, Lindner 2 0-0 4. Totals: 33 8-14 82.
Ellsworth 33 29 — 62
Worthington 36 46 — 82
3-Point Goals: Ellsworth 4 (Leuthold 4); Worthington 8 (J. Vorwald 5, Grafing 2, Potter). Rebounds: Ellsworth 27 (Cheskie 7); Worthington 36 (M. Traylor 16, Dudley 5). Total Fouls (Fouled Out): Ellsworth 11 (none); Worthington 14 (none). Technical Fouls: None. Assists: Ellsworth 16 (D. Kramer 6); Worthington 20 (Potter 12, J. Vorwald 3). Steals: Ellsworth 10 (D. Kramer 3, Hinrichs 3); Worthington 7 (Potter 3, M. Traylor 2). Blocked Shots: Ellsworth 1 (Cheskie); Worthington 1 (J. Vorwald). Turnovers: Ellsworth 13, Worthington 10.