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Trojans stand tall in overtime

EDGERTON -- Maintaining their steady defensive effort and improving their offensive efficiency after halftime of Saturday night's boys basketball game, the Worthington Trojans earned a 71-67 overtime victory against Southwest Christian.

"We didn't execute very well offensively in the first half," Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said after the game, "but our defense kept us in the ballgame, and our offense started to click in the second half and overtime."

Trailing 24-21 at halftime, Worthington (2-3) started the second half strong, taking a 28-26 lead -- its first since it led 4-2 during the game's opening two minutes -- after Quentin Dudley (15 points, 11 rebounds) drilled a 3-pointer, and Mike Vorwald hit a pair of smooth pull-up jumpers from the top of the key to counter a 17-foot swisher from SWC's Trent Ryswyk.

Vorwald (18 points, seven assists) then made his third consecutive shot with a similar jumper and later drove-and-dished to Joel Olson -- who had drawn a charge in between Vorwald's first two hoops -- for a basket, putting the Trojans up 32-28 with 15:01 left in the second half.

SWC (1-2) rallied back to take a 35-34 lead when Karl Vander Lugt (nine points, seven rebounds) drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 12:51 remaining.

Baskets from Travis Meinders and Olson (14 points, nine rebounds) helped the Trojans regain the lead at 39-38 with 9:44 left.

Olson then started an 8-3 Trojan run by knocking down a 10-footer before Matt King received a kickout from Vorwald and delivered a high-arching swisher from the left wing for a trey, making it 44-38.

SWC's Ryan Pronk (nine points, four assists) responded by hitting a 3-pointer of his own, but Vorwald answered with another bomb to put the Trojans back up by six (47-41) with 6:44 to play.

The Eagles then scored the next seven points, as Alex Huisken (19 points, 11 rebounds, four shot blocks) scored four points (on an inside post move and two free throws), and Ryswyk hit a 3-pointer to give SWC a 48-47 lead with 5:11 left.

With less than three minutes to play and the score tied at 54-all, Worthington's Adou Omot (10 rebounds) scored his only two points of the game from the free-throw line to give the Trojans a 56-54 lead with 2:48 left.

Vorwald later hit a pair of free throws to put Worthington up 58-54 with 2:17 showing on the clock, but Ryswyk scored on a tough baseline drive with 1:26 left to keep the Eagles within two at 58-56.

After Olson made one of two free throws with 46 seconds left, Vander Lugt hit another 3-pointer from the left corner to tie the game at 59-all with 39 seconds left.

Omot came back with a 3-point attempt of his own, but it rimmed in-and-out with 25 seconds left, and SWC secured the rebound for one last chance.

Following a SWC timeout with 12.4 seconds left, Pronk drove-and-kicked to Vander Lugt for a good look from the top of the key. The 3-point attempt was too strong, and following a desperation shot at the buzzer by King, the teams prepared for overtime.

Worthington scored the first five points in overtime, as Vorwald found Kent Knutson with two nice passes down low. Knutson turned the passes into a free throw and a layup, respectively, to put the Trojans up 62-59.

Dudley later grabbed an offensive rebound and went up strong for a bucket, making it 64-59 with 2:01 left.

Huisken answered with a backdoor basket, but an Olson put-back hoop kept Worthington up by five with 1:34 remaining.

Three free throws (one by Pronk, two by Huisken) brought the Eagles to within two (64-66) with 1:12 left.

After drawing a charge with 39.8 seconds left, Vorwald hit a pair of free throws to help increase Worthington's lead to 69-64 with 17.8 remaining.

Dudley sank a free throw with 8.5 seconds left before Pronk hit a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left, bringing the Eagles within three (70-67).

Following a quick timeout by the Eagles, Dudley found Vorwald with a deep pass before Knutson was fouled with 0.7 seconds left. Knutson made the first free throw to seal the victory.

SWC controlled most of the first half, as its defensive pressure and shot blocking kept Worthington's offense off-balance.

An 11-0 run that included two buckets apiece by Ryswyk and Huisken sparked the Eagles to a 13-4 lead with 10:49 left in the first half.

Mike Vander Veen later canned a 3-pointer, and Eric Schaap (seven rebounds) hit a free throw to give the Eagles the game's largest lead (17-6) with 8:11 left.

Worthington closed the half on a 15-7 run to make it 24-21 at the intermission, setting up the final 22 action-packed minutes.

"This was a game where both teams played in-your-face defense, and they just made a few more plays than us," SWC head coach Jamie Pap said. "We had some success inside with our big guys, and that opened things up for our outside game."

Both teams play again Tuesday, as Worthington visits Windom as part of a girl-boy doubleheader, and SWC is at Sioux Falls Christian.

WHS 21 38 12 -- 71

SWC 24 35 8 -- 67

WHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Vorwald 1-5-5-18, Meinders 0-2-0-4, Omot 0-0-2-2, Knutson 0-2-3-7, Dudley 1-4-4-15, King 1-3-0-9, Ahrens 0-0-2-2, Olson 0-5-4-14. Totals: 3-21-20-71.

SWC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Pronk 2-1-1-9, Van't Hof 0-1-0-2, Ryswyk 1-4-0-11, Spronk 0-0-1-1, Vander Veen 1-2-2-9, Huisken 0-6-7-19, Vander Lugt 3-0-0-9, Mouw 0-2-2-6, Schaap 0-0-1-1. Totals: 7-16-14-67.