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Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic: 16th annual event set to begin

WORTHINGTON —It figures to be an exciting rematch: Worthington and Perham going head-to-head tonight (Dec. 27) in the 16th Annual Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament.

But this time it won’t be in the finals.

A year ago, the Worthington Trojans defeated the Perham Yellowjackets 79-70 in two overtimes in the varsity championship game at Worthington High School. This year, the two teams will meet in the first round.

Tournament action begins today at 1 p.m. with a junior varsity semifinal contest between the Mankato West Scarlets and the Sibley East Wolverines. Then at 2:30, Worthington and Perham contend. The JV third place game is Saturday at 1 p.m. with the championship following at 2:30 p.m.

In varsity play, Mankato West and Sibley East play a semifinal game at 6 p.m., with Worthington and Perham squaring off at 7:30 p.m. The varsity third place game is 5 p.m. Saturday with the championship to tip off at 6:30 p.m.

In 2012, Will Mulder went 6-for-6 at the free throw line in overtime, hitting a key basket in the second OT to give Worthington the championship. Mulder is back with the Trojans this year as a junior.

If there’s a favorite in this year’s tournament, it might be Perham. The Yellowjackets have reached the tourney finals in four straight years, last winning in 2010 with a 77-58 victory over Ellsworth. A state tournament team last March, Perham began the 2013-14 season ranked No. 1 in Class AA. Since winning their first five games, the Jackets have lost two to fall to 7-2, but both setbacks were by a single point — 56-55 to Pelican Rapids and 52-51 to Battle Lake.

Three returning starters return for Perham. They are senior guard Tyler Glines, senior guard Eli Beachy and senior forward Hunter Salathe.

Worthington owns a 3-3 record. The Trojans’ victories are over Windom Area, Luverne and Murray County Central. Their losses are to Fairmont, Marshall and Pipestone Area.

Under first-year coach Jared Keaveny, Worthington plays an up-tempo brand of basketball with Mulder, senior guard Spencer Grafing, senior forward Carter Lindner, senior forward Will Dudley and senior guard Marcus Potter all combining — with the help of a deep bench — to give the host team all the tools needed to make its up-and-down-the floor, high pressure defensive game pay dividends.

Mankato West is 6-2. The Scarlets won their first four games of the season but is coming off an 80-52 drubbing at the hands of the Marshall Tigers. Junior point guard Carter Burmeister, a starter since his freshman season, runs the show for West. His is a team that focuses on defense — getting stops at the half court.

Sibley East is 3-5 on the season thus far. The Wolverines lost five of their first six games but won the last two, beating New Ulm Cathedral 59-44 and Le Sueur-Henderson 62-61. They are 0-3 on the road.

First-year head coach Daniel Meier preaches good possessions, good shots and man-to-man defense. Senior guards Brody Rodning and Ben White lead the way.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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