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Trojan girls slide past Cardinals

WORTHINGTON -- Paced by 13 second-half points from junior Holli Aggen Thursday night, including a trio of key three-pointers, the Worthington Trojans won their Southwest Conference girls' basketball-opener with a 75-72 victory over Redwood Valley.

Aggen finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while three other Trojans -- sophomore Gabby Boever (17), senior Sarah Boever (16) and senior Alyssa Smith (11) -- also scored in double figures.

A total of 15 players found the scoring column in the game, as the Cardinals' Carolyn Smith (five rebounds, five assists, four steals) was the night's leading scorer with 23 points. Teammate Kelsey Guetter (14 rebounds) scored 20 points, and Molly Madsen finished with 10 points.

The game featured 83 turnovers -- 46 by the Cardinals and 37 by the Trojans -- and wasn't decided until the final buzzer.

Aggen swished a three-pointer from the right wing with 3:17 remaining to lift the Trojans to a 66-59 lead.

Worthington maintained a lead of between five-and-nine points over the next two minutes, as Gabby Boever (10 steals, four assists) made five free throws in that span to counter four points from Carolyn Smith and a bucket from Naomi U'ren.

Madsen hit a three-pointer with 1:08 left to cut Worthington's lead to 71-68, and after Boever made two more free throws seven seconds later, the Cardinals rallied to make it a one-point game.

Guetter scored an inside basket with 49 seconds left, and following a Worthington turnover, Smith scored on an impressive drive from the right wing -- making it 73-72 with 27 seconds remaining.

Worthington answered by beating the Cardinals' full-court pressure, as sophomore Kayla Schroeder received a pass from Aggen for a layup with 14 seconds to play.

After a Trojan timeout, Redwood got a pair of shots off in the closing seconds. Smith missed a runner from the top of the key before Jessica Fischer tracked down the rebound in the left corner and launched a three-pointer that was off the mark -- as Worthington held on for the victory.

"I liked the way we handled things down the stretch," WHS head coach Eric Lindner said afterwards. "They kept coming at us and hustled well the entire game, but we were able to respond and secure the win."

Worthington never trailed in the game, but the Cardinals -- who outrebounded the Trojans 55-36 -- kept it close the whole way.

Sarah Boever (nine rebounds) knocked down a pair of three-pointers and an eight-footer on the left baseline to spark the Trojans to an early 13-6 advantage.

The Cardinals came back to within two points at 20-18 with 10:39 to play in the first half. Smith found Guetter for a transition layup to cap the 12-7 burst.

Worthington later put together an 11-4 surge to turn a 24-22 lead into a 35-26 margin. Gabby Boever had a steal and layup before finding Aggen for a three-pointer in that stretch, while Alyssa Smith scored on a strong post move.

Senior Jenna Donkersloot scored on a nifty up-and-under basket to give the Trojans a 39-29 lead with 2:21 to go, but a three-pointer from Madsen helped the Cardinals close the gap to seven (41-34) at halftime.

"We executed our game-plan pretty well in that first half," Cardinals head coach Brian Leibfried said. "We thought if we were still in it by halftime that our depth would benefit us in the second half, and we performed well to stick with a good team."

After Worthington's Alyssa Smith scored three times and Redwood's Carolyn Smith scored twice to give the Trojans a 47-38 lead to begin the second half, Guetter fueled the Cardinals on a game-tying run.

Guetter scored nine consecutive points, including converting on a three-point play with 13:47 remaining, to tie the contest at 47-apiece.

Worthington scored the next six points and later held a 60-52 lead after an Aggen three-pointer with 8:11 left.

Aggen hit another trey just over a minute later, but the Cardinals -- keyed by a 17-footer from Laura Houghton -- trimmed the lead down to four points (63-59) with 5:16 left.

Two minutes later, Aggen connected again from long range to set up the exciting final three minutes of action.

Worthington (1-0, 4-0) is off until next Friday when Windom comes to town for a girl-boy doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. Redwood (0-1, 2-1) hosts BOLD Tuesday.

RV 34 38 -- 72

WHS 41 34 -- 75

RV (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): Tubbs 0-1-0-2, Fischer 0-0-1-1, Smith 0-8-7-23, U'ren 0-2-1-5, Guetter 0-9-2-20, Madsen 2-2-0-10, Bitker 0-1-1-3, Houghton 0-4-0-8. Totals: 2-27-12-72.

WHS (3PT-2PT-FT-TP): S.Boever 2-5-0-16, Aggen 4-3-3-21, G. Boever 0-5-7-17, Gerber 0-2-0-4, Smith 0-5-1-11, Schroeder 0-2-0-4, Donkersloot 0-1-0-2. Totals: 6-23-11-75.