TROJAN BOYS BASKETBALL: Trojans overpower ArrowsWORTHINGTON — A steady team defensive effort, a balanced offensive attack and a 15-0 run in the second half were among the key factors for the Worthington Trojans in their 55-42 victory over the Pipestone Area Arrows in a Southwest Conference boys’ basketball game Friday night.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — A steady team defensive effort, a balanced offensive attack and a 15-0 run in the second half were among the key factors for the Worthington Trojans in their 55-42 victory over the Pipestone Area Arrows in a Southwest Conference boys’ basketball game Friday night.
Worthington, which improves to 11-5 overall and 5-4 in the conference, held a 35-19 lead at halftime and withstood a strong 11-2 surge by PA (5-11, 0-10) early in the second half to claim the 13-point home-court win on Parent’s Night.
“We were able to get everybody into the game and we did a nice job defensively from start to finish,” Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said. “A number of guys played well and gave us a spark offensively, although we didn’t play as well overall on that end of the court. But Pipestone plays good defense, so give them credit.”
The Trojans took control in the first half behind the accurate perimeter shooting of Spencer Grafing and the versatile inside-outside play of Will Dudley, as the two juniors combined to score 23 points in the initial 18 minutes.
Grafing (nine points) buried a trio of 3-pointers, while Dudley (five rebounds, three steals) scored 14 of his game-high 16 points in a variety of ways before the intermission.
Morgan Traylor (nine points, 13 rebounds), Josh Vander Veen (eight points), Marcus Potter (seven points, nine assists) and Jon Vorwald (five points) were the other top statistical leaders for Worthington, which did turn the ball over 21 times.
“Our one glaring bugaboo was our inability to take care of the ball,” Ron Vorwald said. “That was especially true early in the second half, as we lost our edge and became a little lethargic. It’s a good thing that we were doing the job defensively or else we might have been in trouble.”
The Arrows started the second half strong, as Jacob Derby — who had dialed in a pair of very long 3-pointers in the first half and finished with a team-high 12 points — netted an 18-footer from the right wing to start the scoring after the break.
Dudley countered with a basket underneath (Potter assist) to make it 37-21 with 16 minutes and 29 seconds remaining, but those were the only points Worthington scored in the first six-plus minutes of the period.
The Arrows held the Trojans scoreless for more than five straight minutes and received a spark from the interior play of Collin Moeller, who scored six quick points on three close-range shots — including a bucket in the paint off a nifty high-low feed from Donavon Johnson.
Derby added a runner off the glass, and Boyer Bouman meshed a free throw to aid the Arrows’ 11-2 opening burst that trimmed the margin to 37-30 and prompted a Trojans’ timeout with 12:16 on the clock.
Traylor snapped Worthington’s scoring drought with an 18-footer at the 11:19 mark before Moeller (eight points) scored again down low to make it 39-32 with 11:05 to go.
However, those were the last points for PA in exactly seven minutes. The Arrows went into a prolonged dry spell on the offensive end.
Meanwhile, Worthington ripped off 15 straight points to build a commanding 54-32 lead with 4:58 remaining. Potter got the Trojans going with a 15-footer, while Vorwald followed with a driving basket along the baseline.
Potter later scored on a slicing move through the lane and passed to Vander Veen for a pair of perimeter jumpers — an 18-footer in transition and a 3-pointer from the top of the key — to keep Worthington rolling.
A free throw by Traylor (5-for-6 from the line) and a 3-pointer by Vorwald capped the Trojans’ surge, and PA finally got on the board again when Dominic Freese (six points) scored on a backdoor cut at the 4:05 mark.
Coby Ploeger and Trent VanRoekel also scored late-game baskets for the Arrows, who cut the final margin to 55-42 by scoring 10 of the game’s last 11 points.
“We started to make good passes and hit some shots after the Arrows made their run,” Ron Vorwald said. “And again, our defensive effort and intensity was very good, which allowed us to regain control of the game.”
Worthington was also out in front to start the game, scoring eight consecutive points after Bouman had knocked down a 15-footer for the game’s initial points.
Dudley scored inside prior to early 3-pointers by Grafing and Vander Veen to give the Trojans an 8-2 lead at the 15:12 mark of the first half.
Following two free throws by PA’s Brady Claussen, Dudley nailed a 17-footer along the right baseline and also provided an offensive-rebound basket to extend the Trojans’ lead to 12-4 with 12:48 left.
Worthington opened up a 27-11 cushion by the 6:23 mark, as Grafing connected on two more long-distance shots. Traylor went 4-for-4 on two separate trips to the free-throw, while Carter Lindner (four rebounds) also got to the foul line — sinking one of two shots — to help fuel the Trojans in that stretch.
PA’s A.J. Bucher scored on a nice low-post move before Derby rifled in an NBA-range 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 29-16 with 5:05 remaining.
Dudley closed out Worthington’s first-half scoring with three straight baskets — two off steals and one off an over-the-top lob pass from Dylan Gravenhof — to increase the gap to 35-19 by halftime.
Worthington plays at Luverne Tuesday, while PA hosts Fairmont tonight.
PIPESTONE AREA 42
PIPESTONE AREA (5-11, 0-10): Freese 3 0-0 6, Bouman 1 1-2 3, Derby 5 0-2 12, VanRoekel 1 3-4 5, Claussen 0 2-2 2, Ploeger 1 0-0 2, Moeller 4 0-0 8, Bucher 2 0-0 4. Totals: 17 6-10 42.
WORTHINGTON (11-5, 5-4): Vorwald 2 0-0 5, Vander Veen 3 0-0 8, Dudley 8 0-1 16, Potter 2 3-4 7, Gravenhof 0 0-1 0, M. Traylor 2 5-6 9, Grafing 3 0-0 9, Weg 0 0-1 0, Lindner 0 1-2 1. Totals: 20 9-15 55.
Pipestone Area 19 23 — 42
Worthington 35 20 — 55
3-Point Goals: Pipestone Area 2 (Derby 2); Worthington 6 (Grafing 3, Vander Veen 2, Vorwald). Rebounds: Pipestone Area 25; Worthington 29 (M. Traylor 13, Dudley 5, Lindner 4). Turnovers: Pipestone Area 19, Worthington 21.