TROJAN GIRLS BASKETBALL: Trojans extinguish DragonsWORTHINGTON — Sparked by hustle plays, the Worthington Trojans girls basketball team outscored the Adrian Dragons 19-5 in the final 6 ½ minutes for a 60-47 non-conference win over the Adrian Dragons Tuesday night.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Sparked by hustle plays, the Worthington Trojans girls basketball team outscored the Adrian Dragons 19-5 in the final 6 ½ minutes for a 60-47 non-conference win over the Adrian Dragons Tuesday night.
“It just seemed like in the last 6 minutes, we were playing defense,” Trojans head coach Eric Lindner said. “We had our knees bent and we were talking. I don’t know what happened in the first half. It was a tale of two halves.”
In a back-and-forth opening 18 minutes, Worthington jumped out to an 11-4 advantage in the game’s first 5 minutes before taking a 24-23 halftime lead after swapping the lead with Adrian four times prior to intermission.
Neither side took care of the ball very well early on. While both teams cleaned up the miscues in the second half, Adrian (28 turnovers) made some mistakes at critical times down the stretch while also not converting free throws that allowed Worthington (15 turnovers) to pull away.
Following an Elissa Thier 3-pointer from the left wing off an Elizabeth Thier pass with 6:38 left to give the Dragons their final lead at 42-41, Ana Boever regained the lead for the Trojans by going over the Adrian defense in the paint 20 seconds later for an 8-foot jumper.
Abbie Landgaard (six assists) scored Worthington’s only points over the next 2 minutes to extend the lead to 45-42, while Adrian missed four free throws that could’ve kept the score close.
“It could’ve been a different game if we had knocked our free throws down,” Adrian head coach Randy Strand said. “I think when we started shooting there we might’ve had a two- or four-point lead and we kind of let (Worthington) off the hook. The rope gets a little tighter when you’re holding a six-point and (the opponent) has to score, but all of sudden, we weren’t knocking them down and they were taking advantage of it.”
The lead Strand was referring to was a 33-27 lead the Dragons had opened up in the first 6 minutes of the second half. Worthington’s aggressiveness allowed Adrian to reach the bonus early in each half and the visitors started going to the line with 11:23 left.
However, the Dragons converted 6 of 17 charity shots in the game, including missing the front end of 1-and-1 opportunities 4 out of 6 times. Worthington was 12-for-14 from the charity stripe.
Paige Gravenhof, who finished with 16 points and three steals, converted four free throws to stretch the Trojans’ lead to 49-42 before Brooke Wenzel buried a long 3 from the right wing to make it 49-45 with 3 minutes to go.
The Trojans scored the next 11 points over the next 1:40 to complete their scoring as Boever received a nice feed from Gravenhof on the right block before Gravenhof turned a steal at midcourt into an easy bucket. Gravenhof added two more free throws following a Lydia Kemper steal and then buried a 3 before Kemper sank two charity shots to finish WHS’s scoring.
“Ana and Paige really had a nice stretch for us down the end as far as carrying us offensively,” Lindner added. “And Abbie did a nice job in the floor game — setting up the tempo and knowing what we can and what we can’t do. I was real proud of what our kid’s did (Tuesday).”
Kemper totaled six points, four steals and four rebounds.
“It’s always good to do that stuff (get steals and blocks),” Boever said. “We pulled through at the end and just really worked as hard as we could. It’s good to get that fire, because once we got it we just keep on going and we don’t stop for a while.”
Boever finished with 16 points and just missed a triple-double by adding nine rebounds and nine blocks in addition to three steals.
“Ana had some great blocks and Lydia had some good steals,” Gravenhof said. “That helped us get that big stretch at the end. We pulled together after halftime and we’re glad to get the win.”
Courtney Vaske, who totaled a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds to go with three steals and a shot block, finished the game’s scoring as she flashed to the lane and received a Carly Wolf pass for a shot off the glass with 1:19 left.
“We just didn’t finish the last 3 minutes very well,” Strand said.
Following that basket, Strand called a timeout, but Worthington effectively stalled and ran out the clock, allowing just one turnover — a steal by Rachel Kontz (three steals).
“We executed our stall game perfectly in the last 1:50,” Lindner said. “The girls ran the stall and ran the clock. We had one turnover off of it, but the girls did a pretty good job of executing the end game and running off the clock.”
Adrian, which made seven 3’s in the game, erased Worthington’s seven-point bulge in the first half as Wenzel came in off the bench to help the Dragons’ cause. Wenzel scored a team-high 12 points on three 3’s and added six rebounds, while Elissa Thier (six rebounds, three steals) and Wolf each made two 3’s.
“Both Brooke and Elizabeth do a very fine job of coming off the bench,” Strand said. “We’re fortunate that we can have them come off the bench and have them score some points for us.”
Adrian, which dropped to 13-4 overall, received seven rebounds and four assists from Jordin Kopplow. The Dragons take a 9-1 Red Rock Conference record to Ellsworth Thursday.
Worthington (7-1 Southwest Conference) travels to Pipestone Area for a league game Friday.
ADRIAN (13-4): Elis. Thier 2 0-2 6, Eliz. Thier 2 1-2 5, Kopplow 3 0-1 6, Kontz 1 0-3 2, Wolf 2 0-0 6, Wenzel 4 1-5 12, Vaske 3 4-4 10. Totals: 17-56 (30%) 6-17 (35%) 47.
WORTHINGTON (13-3): Boever 6 2-3 16, Landgaard 2 0-0 4, Henning 3 0-0 6, Kemper 2 2-2 6, Linder 2 0-0 4, Gravenhof 4 6-6 16, Riley 1 1-2 3, Coriolan 2 1-1 5. Totals: 22-52 (42%) 12-14 (86%) 60.
Adrian 23 24 — 47
Worthington 24 36 — 60
3-Point Goals: Adrian 7-18 (39%) (Wenzel 3, Elis. Thier 2, Wolf 2); Worthington 4-17 (24%) (Boever 2, Gravenhof 2). Rebounds: Adrian 42 (Vaske 14, Kopplow 7); Worthington 33 (Boever 9, Henning 6, Kemper 6). Total Fouls (Fouled Out): Adrian 14 (none); Worthington 22 (none). Technical Fouls: None. Assists: Adrian 14 (Kopplow 4, Elis. Thier 3); Worthington 13 (Landgaard 6). Steals: Adrian 12 (Kontz 3, Vaske 3); Worthington 12 (Kemper 4, Gravenhof 3, Boever 3). Blocked Shots: Adrian 1 (Vaske); Worthington 12 (Boever 9). Turnovers: Adrian 28; Worthington 15.