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Boys basketball: Trojans still working to find consistency

WORTHINGTON —Inconsistency is always a factor in sports. Sorting out the variables is, according to the well-worn phrase, why they play the game.

Inconsistency has been at the forefront of the Worthington Trojans boys basketball team this year, but head coach Jared Keaveny said Thursday that he’s not worried.

“We’ve had some really good practices these last two weeks. I think we’ve learned a lot with these tough losses,” he explained.

Keaveny, in his first season with the WHS program, stresses an up-tempo motion game that, ironically, puts the stress on patience as well as aggressiveness. Patience isn’t automatically learned in such an offense.

The Trojans (4-6 overall, 3-3 in Southwest Conference action) have treated fans to some curiously erratic play throughout the early part of the season. For one game, the team might look sharp. The next game, maybe not so much.

On Jan. 7, for instance, after slogging through a three-game losing streak, Worthington defeated a good Jackson County Central team, 74-58, getting off to a great start and never really giving the Huskies a chance to crawl back into the game. Looking back, Keaveny said his team controlled JCC’s shooters with a stifling defense and inside help on JCC’s outstanding senior center, Jon Harmening. Trojans Jake Weg, Carter Lindner and Will Dudley were credited with doing an excellent job under the boards.

Just when you might have thought the Trojans had turned the corner came a game on Jan. 10 against Redwood Valley. And this time it was Redwood Valley getting the jump early and dominating throughout. The final score was 82-55.

“We just didn’t match that intensity against Redwood,” said Keaveny, who also recalled that the Cardinals hit WHS with a perfect storm, scoring easy close-in baskets in the early-going, which only opened things up later from the outside.

Both the JCC and Redwood Valley games were road games for Worthington. The Cards are 9-3, the Huskies, who are 8-6, responded to the Worthington loss by upsetting state-ranked Fairmont 73-68 in their next game.

Tonight, Worthington travels again to play another Southwest Conference foe, Windom Area. Then on Saturday the local boys host Dawson-Boyd in a non-conference contest.

Keaveny is being patient with his team. “It has been inconsistent, but as we said before, it’s going to be sometimes. We’re getting to where we’re trusting each other more.”

“Patience” seems to be the key word. In Keaveny’s offense, players need to be looking for open shots and getting to them with cool efficiency. But sometimes they’re just not there, and the Trojans then need to pull the basketball out again and run the offense. Sometimes, patience must be learned.

“In a motion offense, it’s all about reading things,” Keaveny said.

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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