TROJAN BOYS BASKETBALL: Worthington upsets Maple RiverWORTHINGTON — Marcus Potter deflected the ball to Spencer Grafing as Worthington stunned MSHSL Class 2A fifth-ranked Maple River 58-57 in non-conference boys basketball Friday on senior night.
WORTHINGTON — Marcus Potter deflected the ball to Spencer Grafing as Worthington stunned MSHSL Class 2A fifth-ranked Maple River 58-57 in non-conference boys basketball Friday on senior night.
Leading 36-23 at halftime, the Trojans outlasted the Eagles’ furious second-half comeback by defending a one-point lead as Maple River inbounded the ball underneath its own basket with 4.7 seconds left.
Jaron Denn threw the ball to Michael Lewis, who tried to send it back to Denn. Lewis’ pass became a loose ball as Denn, who was tangled up with teammate Brian Doering, saw it swatted away by Potter before Grafing secured it as time expired.
“We knew that we had to switch (on defense) by talking loudly because it was very loud in here. Communication was very important,” said Potter, who scored 12 points and led WHS with six assists. “All we had to do was not let (Maple River) get off a shot in the last 5 seconds of the game.”
Grafing knew Worthington had to stop Denn.
“We didn’t want (Denn) to get the ball because we knew how deadly he could be when he shoots,” Grafing said. “We wanted to defend everybody and make sure (Maple River) couldn’t get any easy baskets. On the final play, Denn used a backcut to the basket, but we defended it well, were able to tip the ball and stop them.”
Eagles head coach Chad Osterman said Maple River was trying to get its best available shot.
“We didn’t have a good, clean inbounds pass, but we were able to corral it. Then, we made a pass and we couldn’t corral it,” Ostermann said. “(Denn and Doering) were fighting for the ball. Obviously, one of them wasn’t supposed to be there.”
Trojans head coach Ron Vorwald was excited to see Worthington’s defense excute at the end.
“We played man-to-man on the final play, but switched everything,” Vorwald said. “We were fortunate to get the stop when we needed it because it won the ballgame.”
Denn led all scorers with 23 points on 7 of 16 shooting from the field, including 5 of 9 shooting from 3-point range.
The Eagles drained 8 of 15 attempts from behind the arc, while the Trojans were 5 of 12. Jon Vorwald drained three 3-pointers en route to 11 points for WHS.
Worthington, which built a 22-6 lead on a thunderous dunk from Morgan Traylor (13 points, 11 rebounds) with 7:45 left before halftime, watched as Maple River whittled away its deficit. The Eagles, who trailed by 13 points at intermission, used a 34-18 run during the first 13:40 of the second half to take a 57-54 edge on a consecutive baskets from Lewis and Doering.
The Trojans battled back behind Will Dudley, who hit a pair of free throws with 1:53 left and Grafing (eight points), whose uncontested layup put Worthington in front 58-57 with 44 seconds remaining.
Grafing’s layup was the only field goal the Trojans made in the final 7 minutes. Traylor split a pair of free throws to give Worthington a 54-51 cushion with 5:33 left. Vorwald’s left-wing 3-pointer broke a 50-all tie as 7:10 remained.
Maple River (17-4) constructed a 7-1 run with 6:31 left, consisting of a free throw from Johan Breiter, a putback from Will Keller, a running jumper from Lewis and a backdoor layup from Doering.
Leading 57-54, the Eagles were held scoreless the final 3:20 of the game.
“I think the team that competed the hardest and the longest definitely deserved to win … and Worthington won,” Ostermann said. “We don’t deserve to win, if we play like we did in the first half. Unfortunately, we didn’t get going until the second half.”
Coach Vorwald believes Friday’s victory can be a confidence-booster for the Trojans.
“This was a huge win, but we don’t have long to savor it because we go right back into battle (Saturday night),” Coach Vorwald said.
Worthington (13-5 overall) travels to play Class 1A third-ranked Southwest Christian at 7:30 p.m. today in Edgerton.
Before the game, seniors Morgan Traylor, Randy Traylor, Jon Vorwald, Josh Vander Veen and Dylan Gravenhof were honored for their dedication to the Trojans boys basketball program.
MAPLE RIVER 57
MAPLE RIVER (17-4): Schiefelbein 3-5 1-1 7, Larson 2-5 0-0 4, Breiter 1-4 1-2 4, Lewis 3-5 0-0 8, Denn 7-16 4-4 23, Wendt 0-0 0-0 0, Krengel 1-2 0-0 2, Doering 2-7 1-2 5, Keller 1-2 2-2 4. Totals: 20-46 (43%) 9-11 (82%) 57.
WORTHINGTON (13-5): Vorwald 4-9 0-0 11, Vander Veen 0-2 1-2 1, Dudley 1-3 3-4 5, Potter 6-8 0-0 12, Gravenhof 1-1 0-0 2, Mulder 1-1 0-0 3, M. Traylor 5-12 3-7 13, Grafing 3-8 1-2 8, R. Traylor 0-0 0-0 0, Lindner 1-1 1-1 3. Totals: 22-45 (49%) 9-16 (56%) 58.
Maple River 23 34 — 57
Worthington 36 22 — 58
3-Point Goals: Maple River 8-15 (Denn 5-9, Lewis 2-3, Breiter 1-1, Larson 0-2); Worthington 5-12 (Vorwald 3-5, Mulder 1-1, Grafing 1-4, Vander Veen 0-2). Rebounds: Maple River 26 (Doering 6); Worthington 24 (Traylor 11, Dudley 5). Total Fouls (Fouled Out): Maple River 16 (none); Worthington 11 (none). Technical Fouls: None. Assists: Maple River 10 (Larson 4); Worthington 13 (Potter 6). Steals: Maple River 3 (Larson, Lewis, Brieter); Worthington 5 (Dudley 3). Blocked Shots: Maple River 0; Worthington 2 (Traylor 2). Turnovers: Maple River 17; Worthington 12.