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Boys basketball: Hot-handed Huskies get revenge over WHS; Harmening seizes 1,000th rebound

CALEB NELSON/DAILY GLOBE Jackson County Central senior Darnell Taylor-Breck looks to penetrate against the Worthington Trojans in a boys basketball game Monday night at WHS

WORTHINGTON — Revenge can be a powerful weapon, and the Jackson County Central Huskies wielded it expertly Monday night against the Worthington Trojans.

Still hurting after the Trojans beat them 74-58 on their home floor in early January, the Huskies turned the tables with a 90-82 boys basketball win in Worthington. Aggressively moving out to a 50-33 halftime lead, the Huskies withstood a furious WHS comeback effort to improve to 14-8 on the season, and 7-4 in Southwest Conference play. Worthington dropped to 7-12 and 6-5. The victory was one that JCC head coach Trent Sukalski saw as a corner-turner, and it was also the game where 6-5 senior center Jon Harmening cemented his 1,000th career rebound to go along with 1,000 points.

For Worthington head coach Jared Keaveny, however, the result was a clear disappointment.

“They smacked us. You gotta give all the credit in the world to Jackson. ‘Cuz they came out ready to play and we didn’t,” Keaveny said. “They were obviously hyped for this game and we just expected to roll over them.”

Worthington did indeed roll over Jackson County Central in the teams’ first meeting. The Trojans’ dominating victory in that game stuck like a sideways bone in the Huskies’ collective throat. So the Feb. 10 rematch date was one that got circled on their mental calendars.

“We played one of our worst games of the year the first time we played these guys,” said Sukalski. “I told our guys if we just come out and play our game, we’ll do alright.”

Darnell Taylor-Breck, a 6-3 slashing senior guard, performed fearlessly and relentlessly on offense, finishing with a game-high 25 points. Zach Schwarting added 18 points for the Huskies. Harmening and Colton Timmer contributed 13 points apiece and Brady Place scored 11.

Worthington succumbed despite sinking 12 three-point shots. Spencer Grafing hit six of them and finished with 23 points. Marcus Potter hit three others and finished with 21. Oliver Wolyniec was the third Trojan to score in double figures, with 10 points.

Grafing hit four of his three-point shots in the first half and had 16 points at intermission. Down by 17 at halftime, Worthington saw its deficit balloon to 26 points, 65-39, when Timmer hit a three-point shot at 10:26. Worthington’s defense forced JCC into numerous second-half turnovers and with about 2:20 remaining the margin was nine points. A Will Mulder three-pointer made it 78-72 at the 2:06 mark, and a long three-pointer — again by Mulder — brought it to 84-79 with a minute to go. But JCC held firm.

Grafing and Potter had five assists each for the Trojans, with Grafing getting five rebounds. Mulder and Wolyniec pulled down four rebounds apiece. Will Dudley had two blocks.

Afterward, Harmening said he was proud to be a thousand-rebound player. On Dec. 2 of this year, he secured his thousandth point.

“It’s one thing to get 1,000 points, but 1,000 rebounds is quite an honor. Not too many people get the opportunity to get close,” Harmening said.

He also agreed that he and the Huskies were on a mission on Monday. “Them coming to Jackson and giving us a whupping, we definitely had this on our calendar to come back and get revenge. I felt we were more aggressive than they were. We worked hard on defense,” he added.

Sukalski sounded like a sure-fire believer in his team after the final buzzer sounded. “We’ve got a real good team that can beat anybody on a given night. This team has a lot of potential. We’ve got a good inside game and we’ve got some shooters. I think we’re to that point now where everybody knows what their roles are,” he said.

For Keaveny, it’s back to the drawing board. He acknowledged that the Trojans played some spirited defense in the second half. They just got started with it too late.

“Right now it’s about developing a consistency,” he said.

JCC 50 90

Worthington 33 82

JCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Schwarting 2 5-2-18, Harmening 0-6-1-13, Taylor-Breck 1-9-6-25, Timmer 3-2-0-13, Place 0-4-3-11, Behrends 1-2-1-8. Totals 7-28-13-90.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Dudley 0-2-0-4, Grafing 6-2-1-23, Gray 0-0-0-0, Guerra 0-1-0-2, Potter 3-4-4-21, Mulder 3-0-0-9, Wolyniec 0-4-2-10, Lindner 0-4-1-9, Weg 0-2-0-4. Totals 12-19-8-82.

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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