First half struggles doom Trojans
Decisive and complete in its effectiveness, the Marshall Tigers girls basketball team showed why it is the top-ranked team in Class AAA. Marshall held Worthington without a field goal for a span of over seven minutes, and systematically handled t...
Decisive and complete in its effectiveness, the Marshall Tigers girls basketball team showed why it is the top-ranked team in Class AAA.
Marshall held Worthington without a field goal for a span of over seven minutes, and systematically handled the Trojans' full-court pressure defense, then withstood a final Worthington rally to earn the Tigers' second straight state tournament appearance with an 67-56 victory Friday in the Section 2AAA title game at the Lund Center, on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus.
It was the final game of the careers of five Worthington seniors: Maria Boever, Rachel Springman, Julie Ailts, Rebecca Brignac and Ashley DeBates. All five laid it all on the line, and left head coach Eric Lindner very impressed in defeat.
"Every senior gave it everything they've got," he said. "It's really nice to see."
Worthington, after trailing by as much as 20 points early in the second half, mounted its comeback effort, ultimately cutting the lead to as little as eight, 51-43, with about three minutes to go.
"That's a testament to their (work) ethic," Lindner said. "They were not going to give up."
Boever scored 19 of her team-high 25 points in the final half, doing all she could to keep her team - and her high school career - from the end of the season.
"We just were never going to give up," Boever said. "We knew we wanted it so bad."
Boever also had 12 rebounds and five steals to lead the Trojans.
But the eight-point deficit would be the closest they would get in the contest as Marshall was efficient at the foul line in the second half, hitting 17-of-24 attempts.
Marshall cranked up its defense in the first half, turning the Trojans over 16 times while holding its opponent to just 3-for-19 shooting in the first 18 minutes.
Maria Boever was the lone player who was able to score more than one basket for the Trojans in the first half, but even she had to work hard for her offense, scoring just six points.
"The first half, we just started slow," Lindner said. "We broke the press - and that caused us problems before - but when we got it broke, we didn't finish at the end."
On offense, the Tigers shot 11-for-30 from the field and received solid leadership early from Macie Michelson and Kelsie Kruger. The duo combined for 23 points (Michelson 12, Kruger 11) as Michelson was able to connect from both the inside and outside, while Kruger did most of her damage in the paint.
And, the Tigers were able to avoid the multitude of turnovers which had befallen many of the Trojans' other foes during the season, giving the ball up only 10 times in the first half.
"We just knew we had to come out strong because Worthington's a good team," said Michelson after the game.
Brignac was the other Worthington player to score in double figures, netting 12 points.
Kruger helped the Marshall attack with 18 points.
Worthington finished game shooting 18-for-46 (39 percent) from the field, 17-for-21 from the foul line. Marshall was 22-for-54 (41 percent) from the field.
Worthington finishes the season 21-4.
WHS 12 44 - 56
Marshall 28 39 - 67
WHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): S.Boever 1-0-0-3, H.Aggen 0-0-4-4, A.Aggen 0-1-3-5, Springman 1-1-2-7, Brignac 0-5-2-12, M.Boever 1-8-6-25. Totals: 3-15-7-56.
Marshall (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Michelson 1-9-9-30, Schultz 0-0-5-5, Beekman 0-1-2-4, Haukom 0-2-1-5, Kruger 0-8-2-18, Onken 0-0-2-2. Totals: 2-10-21-67.