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Smith leads Worthington with 29 points, 13 rebounds

WINDOM -- Coming into Thursday's girls' Southwest Conference basketball contest, Worthington and Windom were both on the opposite ends of a 30-point game.

Windom (1-6, 4-12) suffered a 31-point defeat at the hands of Adrian in its last game, while Worthington (8-0, 15-2) defeated Luverne by 33 points.

Thursday night, the story was the same as the Trojans came away with another 33-point victory, 89-56.

"We missed a lot of shots in the first half, and I thought that we needed to take a little time to square up," Worthington head coach Eric Lindner said. "But overall, I thought our intensity was there tonight."

The Trojans, who played without Sarah Boever due to illness, forced 37 Windom turnovers.

"I was real happy with how they played without Sarah (Boever)," Lindner said. "Anytime you have a player that plays as many minutes as she does, and you have some bench kids coming off and getting some things done, it's nice to see."

Alyssa Smith, Holli Aggen and Gabby Boever outscored Windom themselves, 64-56.

"Holli and Smith are getting pretty good at running that pick and roll, and it's a hard thing to defend, especially if you run it right," Lindner said. "Holli has to learn that when you're coming off that screen to look for a shot and not always dump it in."

Smith had a game-high 29 points to go along with 13 rebounds and four steals.

"I thought Smith did a good job of establishing her game early and didn't wait until the second half like we've seen in the past," Lindner said. "I thought we did a good job of getting her the ball, and when she got the ball, there were times that three girls were guarding her, and she was finishing."

Aggen had 19 points and four steals, while Gabby Boever had 16 points, 15 rebounds, six steals and three assists. As a team, Worthington had 27 steals.

"I think that their press bothered us. I think that was another factor and the thing that got the game split wide open in the first half," Windom head coach Sheryl Hanefeld said. "I think that Worthington just really took it at us. Foot speed is something that they have, and they were very aggressive in attacking the basket, and that is what they do well."

Iina Takala (10 points) started the game with a trey, and after consecutive baskets from Smith and Gabby Boever, Megan Ysker (seven points) hit a shot to give Windom an early lead.

Aggen, Gabby Boever and Smith all hit shots to give Worthington a 10-5 lead, but the Eagles would not go away.

After a 3-point play from Malori Paplow (seven points), a shot from Takala and another basket from Paplow, the Eagles trailed by just two points, 16-14.

"They were tentative, and our kids were coming out aggressive. I think that was to our benefit," Hanefeld said. "I think our kids offensively played better tonight. It helps to have a couple of key players back and feeling a little better."

However, it was then that Aggen took over. The junior guard made a trey from the right wing, followed by two consecutive baskets to push the lead to nine points.

Kaitlin Gerber, who started in place of Sarah Boever, had two of her eight points, and Smith followed with another basket as the Trojans used a 23-2 run to push the lead to 39-16.

"I really thought that fatigue set in for them," Lindner said. "They didn't go very deep, and we subbed quite a bit tonight and kept the rotation going. I'm really happy with the kids' effort."

However, with a basket from Ellie Hormig, and free throws from Ysker and Amy Robinson (13 points), the Eagles were able to cut the deficit to 41-24 at halftime.

The points were few and far between for Windom in the second half, as Worthington increased its lead to 58-30 early in the second half.

A basket from Kayla Schroeder later in the half gave Worthington a 38-point lead, but consecutive shots from Rachel Malmgren gave the Trojans their biggest lead of the night, 43-points (89-46).

Windom closed on a 10-0 run, but it wasn't enough as Worthington came away with an 89-56 victory.

Windom will travel to Southwest Minnesota State Saturday to face Montevideo.

Worthington will travel to Becker in a rematch of last year's first-round game in the Class 3A state tournament.

"Saturday is going to be an interesting game," Lindner said. "It's exactly a contrast of teams. They start three six-footers, and we don't have one in the bunch, but we like to run."

With the Trojans rated No. 7 in class 3A and Becker rated No. 3 in class 3A, Saturday's game will feature two top 10 teams.

"For both of us, we wanted to have a competitive game coming down to the wire," Lindner said. "It's going to be a good matchup. For us to do well, we're going to have to play up tempo, and we have to get Sarah back healthy."

The Trojans will be back to Southwest Conference action Tuesday when Jackson Country Central travels to Worthington.

Worthington 41 48 -- 89

Windom 24 32 -- 56

Worthington (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Aggen 1-7-2-19, G. Boever 0-8-0-16, Pavelko 1-1-0-5, Gerber 0-2-4-8, Malmgren 0-2-0-4, Smith 0-13-3-29, VanderVeen 0-2-0-4, Schroeder 0-2-0-4. Totals 2-37-9-89.

Windom (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Paplow 0-3-1-7, Bolin 0-1-0-2, Robinson 1-3-4-13, Holt 0-0-1-1, Ysker 0-2-3-7, Takala 2-2-0-10, Hormig 0-2-1-5, Kremmin 0-1-0-2, Mattson 0-4-1-9. Totals 3-18-11-56.