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Girls basketball: WHS impressive from start to finish

BRIAN KORTHALS/DAILY GLOBE Trojans Paige Gravenhof (32) and Ana Boever (10) trap MCC’s Jade Giese (11) during Saturday night’s girls basketball game at WHS.

WORTHINGTON — Probably the most impressive aspect of the Worthington Trojans’ varsity girls basketball game with Murray County Central Saturday night was what occurred in the second half.

For all intents and purposes, the game was already well in hand at halftime with the Trojans holding to a 41-23 lead. But Worthington outscored the Rebels 26-2 to start the second half and didn’t appear to relax all the way to the finish. Even in the final minutes of the game, the Trojans hustled hard on both ends of the floor and especially on defense, giving themselves up to dive for loose balls.

“They’re expected to do that,” said WHS head coach Eric Lindner moments after his team’s 80-35 victory. “They’re expected to dive and get after it. You’d rather have a team that you have to tone down than tune up in a game.”

In advancing their 2013-14 record to 15-1, Worthington emptied the bench against MCC, which fell to 7-9 with the setback. Almost lost in the rout was the individual performance of junior forward Ana Boever, who led her team with 21 points while grabbing 12 rebounds, dishing out four assists and getting nine steals along with four blocks.

Last year, Boever was more of an offensive player, Lindner said. “This year, she’s been more of a complete player, able to excel in all phases of the game.”

Brooke Henning and Paige Gravenhof chipped in with 10 points apiece. Point guard Abbie Landgaard had five assists and Tracy Thongvanh had six rebounds.

Both teams were sluggish offensively to start the game, MCC because of an aggressive Worthington defense and Worthington mostly due to poor long-range shooting. But the Trojans warmed to the occasion before halftime. Boever hit the first of her three three-point shots at the 7:04 mark of the first half to give WHS a 24-11 lead. When MCC’s Rebekah Nysetvold meshed a three-pointer of her own after that, the Rebels pulled to within 30-21. But they could get no closer.

Worthington’s big run to start the second half effectively ended MCC’s chances at a comeback. Rebels mentor Laura Jenson chalked the game up as a learning experience.

“We know that they’re a good team. We wanted to be able to control what we could control — just do the little things,” she said. “We’ve had some things we’ve needed to work on this year. When you play a team like this, it really shows those weaknesses.”

Jade Giese and Angela Dahlgren both scored nine points to lead the Rebels’ effort Saturday.

As for the Trojans, who rolled past Southwest Conference rival Pipestone Area 73-41 on Friday, they look like they’ll be a hard team to handle for the rest of the season. “I think we’re just playing some good defense right now. And one thing we have over a lot of other teams is that we’ve got a lot of seniors. And experience always helps,” said Lindner. “We don’t worry about who we play. We worry about what we do.”

MCC 23 35

Worthington 41 80

MCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Nysetvold 1-1-1-6, Schmidt 0-0-1-1, Giese 1-1-4-9, Van Iperen 0-3-0-6, Dahlgren 0-3-3-9, Behrends 0-1-1-3, Loosbrock 0-0-1-1. Totals 2-9-11-35.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Boever 3-5-2-21, Ebbers 0-1-0-2, Landgaard 0-2-1-5, Henning 0-5-0-10, Bruns 0-2-0-4, Gerber 0-3-0-6, Linder 0-3-0-6, Gravenhof 1-3-1-10, Thongvanh 0-1-0-2, Ac. Alwal 0-2-0-4, Ah. Alwal 1-0-0-3, Ap. Alwal 0-3-0-6. Totals 5-30-5-80.

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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