TROJAN GIRLS BASKETBALL: Trojans best MavericksWORTHINGTON — The Worthington Trojans girls’ basketball team made seven 3’s in the first half and received key contributions off the bench in a 72-58 non-conference victory over Section 3AA South-rival Martin County West Tuesday night.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Trojans girls’ basketball team made seven 3’s in the first half and received key contributions off the bench in a 72-58 non-conference victory over Section 3AA South-rival Martin County West Tuesday night.
Paige Gravenhof (five rebounds, three steals) finished with a team-high 19 points on 8 of 17 shooting and 3-for-9 on 3’s, while Ana Boever tallied 18 points on 6 of 14 from the field and 4-for-8 on 3’s, five assists, four shot blocks and three steals.
Whitney Coriolan and Apiew Alwal each scored nine points off the bench for Worthington, which had eight players score. Coriolan added four rebounds, two shot blocks and an assist, while Alwal finished with five rebounds, three shot blocks, one steal and an assist.
“I thought everyone that came in did something positive for us,” Worthington head coach Eric Lindner said. “Whitney came in and did some things positive and Apiew Alwal had a nice game for us coming off the bench.
“We were shooting really well in the first half. We calmed down a little bit in the second half, but we were able to maintain our intensity on defense. We didn’t give as much dribble penetration (Tuesday), which was good to see.”
Worthington made 26 of 60 field goals in the game, including 7 of 22 on 3’s. The Mavericks finished 24-for-57 from the field and 1-for-8 on 3’s.
Worthington created 22 assists in the game, led by Lydia Kemper’s six helpers.
The Trojans opened the game as Kemper and Gravenhof each turned a steal into a layup in the game’s first minute, while Abbie Landgaard (five assists, three steals) extended the early lead to 6-0 on a cut to the right block off a Kemper assist.
However, the Mavericks went on a 10-0 run as Kate Thiesse (13 points, five steals and three assists) and Madison Larson each collected a bucket and Taryn Tumbleson scored off a steal and added four free throws to give MCW a lead 5 minutes in.
After Gravenhof scored along the baseline off a Landgaard assist, the Mavericks extended their lead to six points (14-8) at 11:13 following baskets by Morgan Williamson and Thiesse.
Worthington, which couldn’t get a 3 to fall in the game’s first 7 minutes, finally knocked down a perimeter shot as Gravenhof buried a college-range 3 from the left wing to cut the Mavericks’ lead to 14-12 at 10:28.
Following a defensive stop, Boever hit a top-of-the-key 3 to give Worthington a 15-14 lead at 10:05.
“(Ana) is the type of shooter that if she hits one, then she will hit two or three more,” Lindner said. “I thought (Martin County West) would recognize that quicker and get someone out there, but it was good that they didn’t. We were hitting 3’s and they were hitting 2’s. You are not always going to be in situations where you are going to trade 3’s for 2’s, so we need to do a better job of working the ball inside.
After MCW regained the lead at 16-15 a minute later on a Whitney Smith jumper, Boever dialed in a pair of 3’s from the same spot on the left wing on back-to-back possessions to give the Trojans the lead for good.
“Oh yeah!” Boever said when asked if she liked shooting from that spot on left wing. “We just got that run again. When we get it, we just keep going and once we are hot, it’s hard to stop us.”
Alwal stretched the Worthington lead to 24-18 when she converted a 3-point play in the low post off a Landgaard assist.
Alwal’s points were the first for Worthington off the bench and the Trojans continued to receive key play from the bench throughout the game.
“It’s really big for (our reserves) to come in,” Landgaard said. “We knew this was a really big game for us. For them to be prepared and to step up and play is big. This was a really good win for us.”
Following Alwal’s play, Martin County West trimmed the gap to 24-22 as Tumbleson made a pair of baskets before Boever snapped the Mavericks’ run with another 3 from the left wing at 4:46. Tumbleson finished with game-highs of 22 points and eight rebounds and also added four assists and a shot block.
Boever’s fourth 3 was another wide-open look for the Trojans.
“We talked about that,” MCW head coach Rodger Traylor said of Worthington’s open 3-point looks. “Part of that problem was that we were changing defenses and we had girls that weren’t sure of which defense we were in, which helps to leave girls open. Give (Worthington) credit, they hit the shots.”
Gravenhof added two more 3’s over the next 2 minutes and Worthington closed out the half with a 40-28 advantage.
“Seven (Worthington) 3’s in the first half and I think we had over 20 turnovers and we were still in the game,” Traylor said. “In my opinion, for being 12 points down, we probably should’ve been down by 30. Worthington has a nice club, but our girls didn’t quit and battled back.”
While Worthington didn’t make another 3 after the intermission, the Trojans’ bench stepped in and gave the hosts a presence in the post.
Two free throws from Alwal stretched the lead to 48-33 with 14:36 left, while Riley hit an 8-foot jumper to make it a 15-point lead (50-35) a minute later.
Over the next 3 ½ minutes, Coriolan scored 7 of the Trojans’ 11 points, while a putback basket from Alwal gave Worthington a 59-39 with 10:46 left. Alwal later scored on a nice post move off a Gravenhof assist with 5:16 left and then set up the final Trojans’ field goal with 4:36 to play when she returned the favor to Gravenhof along the right block.
“Whitney is an outstanding player and so are K.C and Apiew,” Boever said. “Whitney works her butt off up-and-down the court and K.C hits really nice shots and Apiew is there for the rebounds when things don’t go well. They are outstanding players.”
Worthington eventually extended the lead to a game-high 23 points (65-42 at 8:31) as Coriolan scored on a drive, Riley added a pair of free throws and Gravenhof scored in transition.
The Mavericks outscored Worthington 16-7 over the final 8 minutes with Tumbleson scoring six of those points for the 72-58 final.
Martin County West dropped to 19-4 overall with loss. The Mavericks conclude the regular season Friday with a home game against Blue Earth Area.
Worthington snapped a two-game losing streak with the win and improved to 16-5 overall. The Trojans host Jackson County Central in the Southwest Conference to wrap up league play before travelling to New Ulm to conclude the regular season Saturday.
Seeding for Section 3AA will be released today.
MARTIN COUNTY WEST 58
MARTIN COUNTY WEST (19-4): Kuehl 1-3 0-0 3, Tumbleson 9-19 4-4 22, Williamson 3-9 0-0 6, Smith 2-3 0-0 4, Leiding 1-2 0-0 2, Thiesse 6-11 1-2 13, Geistfeld 0-1 0-0 0, Larson 2-5 1-2 5, Lange 0-2 2-2, Tish 0-2 1-2 1. Totals: 24-57 (42%) 9-12 (75%) 58.
WORTHINGTON (16-5): Boever 6-14 2-2 18, Landgaard 1-6 4-6 6, Henning 1-1 0-0 2, Kemper 1-7 1-2 3, Linder 0-0 0-0 0, Gravenhof 8-17 0-3 19, Riley 2-5 2-2 6, Coriolan 4-5 1-2 9, Alwal 3-5 3-3 9. Totals: 26-60 (43%) 13-20 (65%) 72.
Martin County West 28 30 — 58
Worthington 40 32 — 72
3-Point Goals: Martin County West 1-8 (13%) (Kuehl 1-2); Worthington 7-22 (32%) (Boever 4-8, Gravenhof 3-9). Rebounds: Martin County West 27 (Tumbleson 8); Worthington 33 (Henning 5, Gravenhof 5, Alwal 5, Coriolan 4). Total Fouls (Fouled Out): Martin County West 14 (None); Worthington 14 (None). Technical Fouls: None. Assists: Martin County West 11 (Tumbleson 4, Thiesse 3); Worthington 22 (Kemper 6, Boever 5, Landgaard 5). Steals: Martin County West 9 (Thiesse 5); Worthington 15 (Boever 3, Landgaard 3, Gravenhof 3, Riley 2). Blocked Shots: Martin County West 3 (Tumbleson, Thiesse, Lange); Worthington 9 (Boever 4, Alwal 3, Coriolan 2). Turnovers: Martin County West 28, Worthington 22.