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Boys basketball: Moeller, Arrows outhustle WHS

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Worthington’s Jessie Guerra (13) drives to the basket high over Pipestone Area's Donavon Johnson Thursday night in Southwest Conference boys basketball action.

Les Knutson

Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON —Pipestone Area’s Collin Moeller, a hard-working six-foot-six-inch junior center, got off to a quick start Thursday and continued to play with relentless abandon the rest of the game.

His efforts —aided greatly by outstanding hustle and sharp passing from his Arrow teammates —yielded Moeller a 44-point night, the third most in the storied history of high school basketball in Pipestone.

More importantly, his inside presence and ability to attack the basket were instrumental factors in PA’s 81-76 Southwest Conference victory over the Worthington Trojans —who were a step slow most of the game.

“Give all the credit in the world to Pipestone,” summed up a disappointed first-year WHS head coach Jared Keaveny after having time to digest the events of the fast-paced contest. “They flat-out outworked us and took it to us all game long.”

The Trojans, who were playing just their second home game of the new season, overcame early Arrow leads of 8-5 and 15-11 to post a 33-29 halftime advantage.

Then, Worthington appeared to be taking control as the second half opened.

A steal and layup by Will Dudley gave the Trojans a 35-29 edge and Spencer Grafing’s hard baseline drive put WHS up by seven, 37-30, before all the fans had settled in from the intermission break.

It was Worthington’s largest lead of the night.

The Arrows (4-2, 3-1) responded with the same kind of play which had helped them claim several leads in the first half.

Moving the ball effectively, PA capped an 8-2 run with a fastbreak off a rebound from the rugged Donavon Johnson to playmaker Boyer Bouman (team-high seven assists) who fired ahead to Moeller —and with 14:26 on the clock, the Trojans’ lead was sliced to one, 39-38.

“We executed well on the run,” praised PA head coach Ed Gustafson about the Arrows’ performance. “We were young last year and these guys are sure stepping up their game this season.”

Worthington mainained leads of 41-38 and 43-40 on baskets by Marcus Potter and Will Mulder before taking a five-point edge on a slick drive down the lane by Oliver Wolyniec.

After Potter sandwiched a bucket between a pair of inside hoops by Moeller, a free throw from Dudley was followed by a steal and layup from Potter.

With 10:57 remaining, Worthington again had a six-point lead, 50-44.

Arrows counter with 23-7 surge, earn 67-57 lead Beginning with another inside basket —absorbing contact —by Moeller and finishing with a driving left-handed layup —high off the glass —by Bouman, the Arrows scored 23 of the game’s next 30 points.

That impressive 23-7 run, covering a span of just over six minutes, turned out to be the game changer.

The Arrows, who had made only one three-point shot prior to their game-winning burst, drilled a trio of them during the surge.

Dominic Freese connected from long range to give PA a 53-52 edge with 9:08 left —and the Arrows never surrendered the lead.

Bouman followed suit 48 seconds later and it was 56-52.

After Worthington closed to within one at 58-57, Freese netted a free throw and Dylon Armstrong became PA’s third player in a three-minute span to connect from behind the arc, pushing the Arrows lead back to five, 62-57, with 5:54 to play.

“We passed the ball well to our shooters, who can hit those three-pointers,” summed up Gustafson. “Worthington may have been getting a little tired and we were able to knock down some long open looks.”

A bit later, a remarkable save by PA’s Brayden Baartman went straight to Moeller for another basket and then Bouman’s drive increased the lead to 67-57 with 4:47 left.

Mulder sank a pair from the line, but Bouman countered —off a kickout pass from Johnson —with his second three-pointer and PA had its largest lead at 70-59.

Potter and PA’s Trenton Rops exchanged free throws, keeping the Arrows’ lead at 11.

Then, the Trojans mounted a comeback.

Potter scored on a layup following a steal from Carter Lindner, Grafing sank two free throws and Mulder converted on a steal, capping a 6-0 run and slicing the lead to five with 2:26 remaining.

The Arrows responded with a slick press-breaking basket which went from Johnson to Baartman to Rops to Bouman to Moeller.

“All five guys touched the ball and passed it well,” praised Gustafson. “That was a big basket”

That play put the Arrows up 74-66.

The Trojans continued to close, eventually trimming the lead to 77-73 (41 seconds left) and 79-76 (10 seconds to play) on a pair of three-point jump shots by Grafing.

Bouman clinched the verdict two seconds later with two free throws.

“It was too little, too late,” concluded Keaveny. “We did not dictate tempo. We seemed to lack energy and we were a step behind on every defensive rotation.”

Moeller, who was 19-of-29 from the field, also claimed 13 rebounds, blocked six shots and came up with three steals for the Arrows.

Bouman scored 15 of his 17 points after intermission.

In addition to Bouman’s seven assists, the Arrows had Rops and Freese with five assists each, while Baartman (six rebounds) had four assists and Johnson (five rebounds, five steals) passed for a trio of assists.

Worthington, by contrast, had just three players (Potter, Grafing and Mulder) with two assists each.

“We settled for jump shots,” said Keaveny. “We looked like a selfish team tonight. We shied away from contact and were outplayed physically.”

Dudley and Grafing were Worthington’s leading rebounders with six and five, respectively, but the Trojans were outrebounded by a 35-25 margin.

Mulder hit a trio of three-pointers and finished with 21 points for the Trojans, while Potter (five steals) tallied 18 points and Grafing netted 14.

Dudley (three steals) and Lindner each scored nine points.

The Arrows play at Tracy tonight, while the Trojans (3-3, 2-2) have a week before playing Perham in their opening game of the Worthington Holiday Tournament.

Pipestone Area 29 81

Worthington 33 76

PA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Freese 1-0-1-4, Bouman 2-3-5-17, Baartman 0-1-0-2, Armstrong 2-0-0-6, VanRoekel 0-1-0-2, Rops 0-1-4-6, Moeller 0-19-6-44. Totals 5-25-16-81.

WHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Dudley 0-3-3-9, Grafing 2-3-2-14, Potter 0-8-2-18, Mulder 3-7-4-21, Wolyniec 0-2-1-5, Lindner 1-2-2-9. Totals 6-25-14-76.