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Trojans knock off Huskies, 77-69

WORTHINGTON -- With only a few players healthy, the Worthington girls' basketball team looks more like a M*A*S*H unit than the No. 7 class 3A team in the state.

"We got the water jugs tonight; we're trying to get away from the water bottles," Worthington head coach Eric Lindner said. "We don't know if we're spreading it with kids drinking off each other's water bottles. We're trying to take some proactive measures to hopefully cut down on this."

With Sarah Boever already on the sidelines, and others struggling with sickness, the Trojans (9-0, 16-3) defeated the Jackson County Central Huskies, 77-69, in a Southwest Conference girls' basketball game Tuesday.

"Worthington has a great ballclub and you can't doubt them for that," JCC head coach Stephanie Bot said. "It's hard to come to somebody's place and beat them on their own court, and on parent's night the emotions are a little higher."

Only five Trojans scored in the game, but four of the players scored in double figures.

Holli Aggen led all scorers with 29 points, while Alyssa Smith (15 points, 11 rebounds), Kayla Schroeder (14 points) and Kaitlin Gerber (12 points) each had double figures.

However, Ashley Kruse (19 points), Brooke Burmeister (16 points), Anna Meneely (12 points) and Megan Bezdicek (11 points) all reached double figures for the Huskies.

"On the whole, I thought we did pretty good," Bot said. "In the second half, I thought we missed a lot of easy baskets. I thought we did an awesome job on the offensive boards, but we didn't finish the putbacks."

JCC (4-5, 11-8) came out with 4-1 a lead behind a trey from Bezdicek and a free throw from Kate Rentschler.

However, a basket and a pair of free throws from Aggen gave Worthington its first lead of the night, and a trey from Gerber opened up an 8-4 lead for the Trojans.

Baskets from Kruse and Whitney Burmeister evened the score at 10-all early in the contest.

With a steal and a layup from Kruse, JCC took the lead back, 20-19. But with a trey from Schroeder, the Trojans regained the lead.

JCC used three straight baskets to take a two-points lead at 26-24, but the Trojans went on a 13-4 run sparked by a pair of Schroeder treys to take a 37-30 lead.

"I was just open I guess and I figured that I'd try," Schroeder said. "I figured that hey, 'if one goes in, maybe another will go in.'"

After not hitting a 3-pointer in their game against Becker, Aggen's trey in the final minutes of the first half was the eighth for the Trojans, as Worthington had a 44-41 lead at the break.

"I thought we came out in the first half with great intensity and we played well," Bot said. "They know our bread and butter is looking high-low, so they covered that pretty well."

Out of the halftime break, Worthington had three consecutive baskets that found the stands instead of the intendend target, as JCC converted on the other end to take a 45-44 lead.

Worthington settled down and Smith converted a pair of baskets to start a 10-0 run -- giving the Trojans a 54-45 lead.

"Worthington likes to run, and we can't do that game with them," Bot said. "So we're going to wear down physically and mentally, and I think that showed."

The baskets were few and far between for the Huskies over the first nine minutes of the first half. Behind the play of Aggen and Gerber, Worthington opened up a 14-point lead, 69-55 with six mintues remanining.

After falling behind by as many as 16 points, JCC scored a pair of baskets to pull the deficit back within 12.

"We have yet to give up on a game," Bot said. "We fought back and shot the baskets and got the offensive boards and took it back into them. We were doing some good things, but we just have to get over the top."

Meneely hit a pair of treys down the stretch for JCC, but the lead was too much as Worthington defeated the Huskies, 77-69.

"It's one of those games that you come out and the only thing that matters is that you win," Lindner said. "You can look at all the small stuff, but this is a team that as a coach, we expect a certain level of intensity every game. They are getting it done, they're not getting it done pretty some nights, but they are winning."

The Trojans will play sparingly over the next couple of weeks. While JCC will travel to Marshall Friday, Worthington will be off until Saturday, when it travels to Adrian.

"We need the time to recoup and to let Sarah's virus run its course," Lindner said. "Hopefully we can get her back. Adrian is maybe a little unrealistic, but I hope we can get her back for the Pipestone game. That's going to be physical and shove and push."

The next Southwest Conference game for the Trojans will be Feb. 8, when the Pipestone Area Arrows visit in a critical SWC game.

JCC 41 28 -- 69

Worthington 44 33 -- 77

JCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Bezdicek 1-3-2-11, Kruse 0-8-3-19, Meneely 2-2-2-12, Geesman 0-1-0-2, Rentschler 0-2-1-5, W. Burmeister 0-2-0-4, B. Burmeister 0-8-0-16. Totals 3-26-8-69.

WHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Aggen 3-6-8-29, G. Boever 0-3-1-7, Gerber 2-2-2-12, Smith 0-6-3-15, Schroeder 3-2-1-14. Totals 8-19-15-77.