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Boys basketball: JCC beats Trojans in intense battle; Voss scores 1,000th point

JCC Huskies junior Rudy Voss (2) drives around Worthington's Lucas Boever Tuesday night. Voss scored his 1,000th career point as JCC prevailed in a tight contest. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- With 2:25 to go in Tuesday’s high school boys basketball game between Jackson County Central and Worthington, the score was deadlocked. But the Huskies outscored the Trojans 12-6 the rest of the way and beat the home team in an exciting, well-played game, 68-62.

Six-four junior Andrew Hesebeck used his muscle, and the free throw line, down the stretch and finished with 26 points for JCC. And 6-3 junior guard Rudy Voss scored his 1,000th career point in the first half en route to 18 points.

“It’s always been a goal of mine since I was little,” Voss said after a lot of photo-taking at game’s end. “I think it’s great playing with my teammates since third grade, and it’s really about them. I wouldn’t be close (to a thousand) if I didn’t have them.

“I got a little emotional when I saw my dad (in the stands). He’s been coaching me since I was a little kid. He was tearing up,” Voss continued.

The victory pushed JCC to 9-2 on the 2018-19 season, and it dropped Worthington to 4-6. On the plus side for the Trojans, however, was that it was the second game in a row where they were ready to play, both mentally and emotionally, after struggling since a 3-0 start.

“We’re starting to realize that we can find another level. We played at a high level these last two games,” said head coach Clint Meyer.

Voss reached the 1,000-point mark with 10:40 remaining in the first half, and he did it impressively as Worthington’s Lucas Boever barely missed on a steal attempt. Voss recovered his dribble, spun around to face the basket, and drained a long 3-pointer that gave JCC a 20-12 lead.

Worthington sharpshooter Karasharo Ojulu connected on two 3-point shots in the final 1:30 of the half, and the Trojans took a 38-35 lead into intermission.

WHS emerged to score the first six points of the second half, but that’s when the big and brawny Hesebeck began to assert himself around the basket. Very little separated both teams down the stretch, but with 1:37 to go, Hesebeck bounced a short shot off the backboard for a 58-56 JCC lead. Then it was Hesebeck again at 1:24 on a pair of free throws to increase the lead to four. Voss, at 1:11, made a steal at Worthington’s end and dribbled the length of the court for another score, making it 62-56.

With 48.5 seconds to go, the Huskies’ Jack Brinkman made two free throws for 64-56. A 3-point shot by Ojulu, and three free throws by Ojulu (after being fouled on a 3-point attempt) brought WHS within two. But it was too late.

Ojulu made four 3-point shots in the game and finished with 25 points. Terbuto Ochothow had 17.

Meyer said Worthington allowed Jackson County Central too many second-chance shots in the final minutes. And not enough loose balls went his team’s way.

“Both teams were just playing really hard. They (the Huskies) seemed to come up with a couple of more loose balls,” he said, adding that the Trojans will continue working on being calmer under pressure.

“We gotta make sure we don’t let the intensity level dictate our play,” he said.

Boever, who harassed Voss defensively for much of the game, led Worthington with eight rebounds. Ojulu and Ochothow both had six rebounds. Ochothow added four assists and three steals. Boever had three blocks.

Free throws mattered. JCC made 19 of 25 and Worthington converted just eight of nine. JCC was 7-for-19 from 3-point range compared to the Trojans’ 8-for-32.

“I just think we got defensive stops,” Voss summed up the game. “They played outstanding. I don’t think we played our best, but they played really well. It’s really tough to win here.”

Boever wasn’t pleased with the end result, but he was pleased with the effort. In the WHS locker room after most of his teammates had dressed, he smiled when he said, “We’ll be glad to see ‘em later in the season.”

JCC 35 68Worthington 38 62JCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Carr 0-1-0-2, Voss 3-4-1-18, Brinkman 0-1-0-4, Hassing 1-1-2-7, Hesebeck 3-4-9-26, Benda 0-1-0-2, Buhl 0-1-4-6, Bargfrede 0-1-1-3. Totals 7-14-19-68.WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Ojulu 4-3-7-25, Ochothow 2-5-1-17, Bruns 2-0-0-6, Weg 0-1-0-2, Boever 0-2-0-4, Brandner 0-4-0-8. Totals 8-15-8-62.
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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