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Bench comes alive for Trojans in 84-47 victory

WORTHINGTON -- With all 11 Worthington players scoring, the Trojans stayed perfect on the season with an 84-47 Southwest Conference girls' basketball victory over Windom Friday.

"Tonight what was really important was that our bench came alive," Worthington head coach Eric Lindner said. "I thought that Kayla VanderVeen came out and just decided that it's going to be a night to take the ball to the basket."

VanderVeen scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed six rebounds off the Worthington bench that scored 36 points on the night.

"(Kaitlin) Gerber came off the bench and hit some quality shots, and (Kayla) Schroeder came in and pounded on the inside," Lindner said. "Jenna (Donkersloot) got some time and did some nice things. It's important for us as a team to get a look at all players."

Gerber scored seven, Schroeder added five points and six rebounds and Donkersloot chipped in with four points.

Worthington (2-0, 5-0) pressured Windom (0-2, 0-5) to start the game, and took an early lead.

Rachel Pavelko (10 points) hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the first points on the board, and with a free throw from Gabby Boever (10 points, six rebounds, five steals), Worthington had a 4-0 lead.

Windom's Casey Christensen (six points), in her first full game of the season, hit a shot from the right block -- cutting the lead in half.

The Trojans answered with a 7-0 run behind points from Alyssa Smith (15 points), VanderVeen and Pavelko.

After Christensen put in another basket, Worthington went on a 14-5 run to increase the lead to 25-9.

"It was a tough night because the ball just didn't go into the hole," Windom head coach Sheryl Hanefeld said. "We have to be able to do things better, but we took some good steps forward tonight."

Megan Ysker (13 points) connected on two shots, pulling the Eagles back within 15.

VanderVeen made four consecutive free throws -- without hitting the rim -- to bump the lead back to 19.

However, Holli Aggen and Smith started to work a pick and roll for the Trojans.

"It's kind of a new set that we put in," Lindner said of the play. "When teams don't let us drive and they really sag off we really have to find something to do to get the flow of the offense going."

Schroeder hit a trey and Donkersloot added a shot before half as Worthington had a 43-22 lead at the break.

Sarah Boever (10 points, six steals, six rebounds) started the second half with a trey, as the Trojans continued to build their lead.

With the pick and roll working again with Aggen and Smith, Worthington started the second half on a 7-0 run.

However, on the next pick and roll, Aggen showed her versatility and hit the jump shot off the screen.

"The nice thing about what Holli did is that they one time they did cover the cutter, she took the jump shot," Lindner said. "That was big, because you get in the tendency to look for the cutter and not realize that you're open."

That was Aggen's only field goal of the night, but the junior guard grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out six assists.

Worthington started the second half on a 20-9 run, putting the game out of reach.

"We get it in our head that their pressure is going to be so intense, but once we settled down and realized that we could pass against it, that was a big step for us," Hanefeld said. "We passed the ball better than we expected to."

After a Gabby Boever steal and layup, Windom responded with an 8-2 run sparked by two free throws from Alii Holt (11 points), and consecutive baskets from Ysker.

"We haven't reached our expectations at all defensively," Lindner said. "There's definitely some work that needs to be done."

However, Worthington answered with a 7-0 run of their own to maintain its lead.

The Trojans finished the game on another 7-0 run to defeat the Eagles, 84-47.

"We have to improve in a lot of areas, but we did improve in certain areas, and that's one of the keys," Hanefeld said. "If we make some of those shots, it's a lot closer game, but we haven't touched the ball enough yet."

With a late start due to state volleyball and two players inactive, the Eagles aren't at full strength yet this season.

Worthington finished with 21 steals as a team, and had a 26-10 advantage in offensive rebounds.

"I thought we pushed the tempo tonight, and I think that was the key," Lindner said. "Even though it didn't look as pretty as it needed to in the first half, I thought in the second half the lack of depth for them really showed up."

Worthington will travel to Jackson County Central Tuesday night.

"We have to definitely get prepared," Lindner said. "We're going to have to play pretty good post defense on them."

Windom will travel to Truman Thursday.

Windom 22 25 -- 47

Worthington 43 41 -- 84

Windom (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Paplow 0-3-1-7, Holt 0-3-5-11, Ysker 0-6-1-13, Takala 0-0-2-2, Hormig 0-2-0-4, Christensen 0-3-0-6, Mattson 0-2-0-4. Totals 0-19-9-47.

Worthington (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) S. Boever 1-3-1-10, Aggen 0-2-1-3, G. Boever 1-3-1-10, Pavelko 1-3-1-10, Gerber 1-2-0-7, Malmgren 0-1-0-2, Smith 0-7-1-15, VanderVeen 1-4-6-17, Schroeder 1-0-2-5, Boomgarden 0-0-1-1, Donkersloot 0-2-0-4. Totals 6-26-14-84.