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Trojans dull Arrows, 85-78

WORTHINGTON -- It couldn't have been a bigger game for Worthington's Sarah Boever to make her return.

Playing for the first time since Jan. 22, the senior forward helped lead the Worthington girls to an 85-78 Southwest Conference victory over Pipestone Area, and with it, a share of the conference crown.

"It's a very big win, because that pretty much means that we won the conference championship," Sarah Boever said. "But we can't look down on Luverne, because they are in our conference, and we just have to play it game by game."

Out for more than two weeks, Sarah Boever scored 12 points and had six rebounds in her return.

"When I was warming up, I was like 'oh goodness, this is going to be a really weird game' because I hadn't shot at all when I was out," Sarah Boever said. "The first four minutes, I was really winded. But then, after that I was fine."

On senior night, the senior wasted no time getting in the flow of the game. With the scored tied at 6-all in the early going, Sarah Boever hit a trey from the right wing, giving the Trojans (10-0, 18-3) a 9-6 advantage.

"She's just a competitor. She could have a leg hanging by a thread and she'd play; she's just that kind of kid," Worthington head coach Eric Lindner said. She's all over the place. (She brings) added intensity and the added defense. When you're around her, you can't help but play better because if you don't, you're going to look pretty silly."

After Gabby Boever (18 points) followed with a shot, PA's Faith Tinklenberg (game-high 28 points) hit a jump shot for the Arrows (7-3, 14-4) to pull PA back within three.

However, Alyssa Smith (13 points) hit a pair of shots while Kaitlin Gerber (10 points) hit a trey as the Trojans (No. 7 in 3A) had an 18-8 lead.

"I thought we were a little out of sync offensively, and part of that is not having a head coach here," PA assistant coach Lowell Lorenzen, who was substituting in for an ill Jay Johnson, said. "Worthington is an awful good team, there is a reason they are ranked in the state. I thought we had a pretty good effort; we just couldn't shut down their 3s."

But the Arrows (No. 5 in 2A) would not go quietly. Kayla Rowden banked in a trey and Tinklenberg followed with another trey to spark a 12-0 PA run -- giving the Arrows a 20-18 lead.

"We were doing a lot of sagging and we're popping down and making them take those perimeter looks," Lindner said. "As long as it wasn't Tinklenberg, it was a good decision."

Sarah Boever's shot then sparked a run for the Trojans, while Holli Aggen's (22 points, seven assists) free throws capped the 9-0 run, giving Worthington a 27-20 advantage.

The teams continued to trade points back and forth as the Trojans had a 42-36 lead at the break.

"I thought it was a pretty good game," Lindner said. "I thought at half it could be anybody's ballgame, but we really played good defense. It was probably the best defense we've played other than the Becker game."

Sarah Boever started the second half with a basket, and Aggen followed with a pair of free throws for Worthington.

It was then that the Trojans started bombing 3s. Gabby Boever started the run of six treys out of the next eight field goals for the Trojans.

Aggen hit three consecutive long-range shots, while Sarah Boever and Gabby Boever each scored during the run.

"I don't know what people see, but they play us in a zone," Lindner said. "We like to shoot the ball. I don't understand why they're putting more pressure on the inside, but we'll take it."

Gabby Boever converted on a 3-point play, as Worthington had a 71-57 lead late in the second half.

Bailey Bouman (22 points) answered with a shot for PA, and Tinklenberg finished with seven consecutive points for the Arrows, but it wasn't enough as Worthington held on for an 85-78 victory.

"I thought the effort was fairly good, but they shot the ball well," Lorenzen said. "We struggled a little with their quickness. We had trouble matching up in the man, so we tried some zone. But if you weren't right there with a hand up in their face, they were canning them tonight."

The Trojans hit nine treys on the night, and were 16-of-21 from the free throw line.

"The free throw line was solid tonight," Lindner said. "That's pretty good for us. Usually it's a 50 or 60 percent effort from the line."

PA will host Yellow Medicine East tonight, while Worthington will attempt to win the conference outright Tuesday when it travels to Luverne.

"It was a big one; it will give us a share of the conference title," Lindner said of the victory. "But we're not done; we want to keep going. We want to get Luverne, and I hope the kids don't get complacent, because Luverne is capable."

PA 36 42 -- 78

Worthington 42 43 -- 85

PA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Bouman 0-9-4-22, Rowden 1-1-0-5, Tinklenberg 5-4-5-28, Bree Woelber 0-3-0-6, Brooke Woelber 0-5-1-11, Evans 0-1-2-4, Vanderpoel 0-1-0-2. Totals 6-24-12-78.

Worthington (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Smith 0-5-3-13, G. Boever 2-5-2-18, Aggen 3-2-9-22, S. Boever 2-3-0-12, Gerber 2-2-0-10, Pavelko 0-2-2-6, Schroeder 0-2-0-4. Totals 9-21-16-85.