Offensive battle goes to Worthington
Worthington guard Zach Traphagen hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining in overtime Tuesday night and followed it by hitting 3-of-4 free throws to help the Trojans seal a 92-88 victory over the visiting Jackson County Central Huskies in Southw...
Worthington guard Zach Traphagen hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining in overtime Tuesday night and followed it by hitting 3-of-4 free throws to help the Trojans seal a 92-88 victory over the visiting Jackson County Central Huskies in Southwest Conference basketball action.
Traphagen's bomb gave the Trojans an 89-86 advantage, but JCC senior guard Jordan Kocak muscled in two of his game-high 27 points to put the Huskies within striking distance with 13 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Traphagen stepped up with senior poise and knocked down two free throws -- later hitting a third to lift the Trojans.
"That's what seniors are supposed to do," Traphagen said following the game. "I was having a bad shooting night most of the game, but I guess that's the one that counts -- that one at the end."
Traphagen's 15 points led the Trojans, while Drew Stevenson and Ray Landberg each tallied 14. Nate Stoll and Joel Olson scored 11 and 10, respectively for the Trojans.
Kocak was followed by Andrew Salzwedel with 17 and Derek Kazemba's 15 for the Huskies.
The Trojans (4-4, 8-7) looked as though they would easily take care of the Huskies, much like they did Jan. 10 when they posted a 74-46 victory in Jackson. But a much improved Huskies (0-9, 2-14) team came into the game hungry.
""I couldn't be more proud of our kids right now," JCC head coach Dion Koltes said. "It could have been easy to just bale on the whole game with what they did to us in Jackson. But my boys battled. We're going through a learning process and we're going to get there."
Trailing 64-53 with 10 minutes to play in regulation, the Kocak really started to lift his game and the rest of the Huskies recognized that he had the hot hand. When he wasn't able to get an open look from the perimeter, Kocak drove the basket looking to pick up a foul. His plan worked to perfection, as the Trojans saw Olson, Traphagen and Landberg head to the bench in foul trouble.
With Olson out of the center, the Huskies worked a nice inside-out game with Salzwedel and Kocak. Chris Aggen, who didn't score in the first half, countered for the Trojans with some precision perimeter shooting, hitting three jumpers for seven points.
But as the game neared the end of regulation, the Huskies started to use a trapping defense and force the Trojans to turn the ball over on several occasions. Worthington also missed on several 1-and-1 opportunities, which stopped the clock and gave the Huskies a chance to seize the momentum.
"We lost our poise a little when they started to trap us," Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald said. "We set up the last set for Zach. I felt like he was due and he was able to redeem himself for some of those tough plays at the end of regulation."
With 48 seconds remaining, and a 79-76 lead, Traphagen was trapped to the right of the Trojans' basket and misfired a pass to JCC's Ryan Rasche. The sophomore forward was fouled heading to the hoop. But the forward missed both attempts from the line. Unfortunately for the Trojans, Rasche corralled the rebound and dropped it in to make it a 79-78 game with 30 seconds left.
Traphagen then put the Trojans up by three, hitting a pair of free throws. But with just 4 seconds left, Kocak leaned through two Worthington defenders and tossed a bulls eye to tie the game at 81-all -- setting up the overtime finish.
JCC 44 37 7 -- 88
WHS 42 39 11 -- 92
JCC (3FG, 2FG, FT, Total points): Kazemba 3-3-0-15, Bisaillon 0-2-2-6, Kocak 3-6-6-27, Hendricksen 0-2-5-9, Fiala 0-2-2-6, Brandt 0-1-0-2, Salzwedel 0-6-5-17, Rasche 0-1-0-2, Benson 0-1-2-4. Total 9-24-22-88
WHS (3FG, 2FG, FT, Total points): Olson 0-5-0-10, Landberg 0-5-4-14, Stoll 0-4-3-11, Stevenson 2-3-2-14, Traphagen 2-1-7-15, Berg 0-2-0-4, Collin 1-2-2-9, Soderholm 0-2-0-4, Dudley 0-1-1-3, Aggen 1-2-1-8. Total 6-27-20-92.