St. Peter senior forward Bennett Olson had game-high totals of 22 points and 12 rebounds, but his deft pass to cutting teammate Ethan Grant was the difference-maker Tuesday night in the Saints’ dramatic victory over the Worthington Trojans boys basketball team.
Grant scored a layup thanks to the Olson dime with 25 seconds left as St. Peter edged the Trojans 48-47 in a Big South Conference game.
Worthington star Brock Bruns had an open 3-pointer from the left wing in the final seconds but it rattled off the rim as the Trojans dropped to 1-2 on the season.
“The shots just weren’t falling consistently for us again,” said Worthington coach Clint Meyer. “Our defense gave us a chance at the end.”
For the second time in three games, Worthington got behind by double digits only to rally ferociously in the second half. But as was the case in a season-opening loss to Luverne, the Trojans ultimately fell short in the final moments.
The Trojans did not take a timeout after Grant’s layup.
“I was letting the players dictate and they found Brock for an open look,” said Meyer of his 6-6 standout forward. “I’ll take that shot every time, from him especially. He makes that shot consistently.
“The effort was there from our guys. We just needed a couple more shots to fall.”
Junior guard Meer Othow had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Trojans. His two free throws with 38 seconds to play gave Worthington a 47-46 advantage, the Trojans’ only lead of the second half.
“Down the stretch Meer played really well,” Meyer said. “He attacked the basket, which is what he does best. Plus he made those free throws. He’s a super-athletic kid and when he wants to play hard he can do some things. He just has to have that mindset the whole game.”
Bruns had 13 points and six rebounds for the Trojans, who shot just 18-for-54 from the field. Star guard Terbuto Ochothow had 10 points and five rebounds. But the talented senior was but 4-for-16 from the floor.
The 6-6 Olson gave the undersized Trojans fits inside. He scored two quick hoops to open the second half as the Saints (2-2) built a 35-23 lead.
Worthington used full-court pressure to get back in the game, forcing 11 second-half turnovers. St. Peter missed two front ends of 1-and-1 free throw situations down the stretch, too.
But after Othow’s two free throws gave the Trojans the lead, Grant and Olson made the play that mattered. Grant picked up his dribble beyond the top of the key, but he found Olson and immediately took off for the hoop on a give-and-go.
“It wasn’t what we’d drawn up, but they took away our first option,” said St. Peter coach Sean Keating. “He got it to Bennett. We actually run that little sequence a lot in practice. They did it naturally and made a play. Then luckily Bruns missed that shot at the end.
“It got a little sloppy in the second half turning the ball over, but we’ll take it.”
Worthington plays host to Redwood Valley on Friday night at Trojan Fieldhouse.
St. Peter 27 48
Worthington 23 48
St. Peter (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Josh Robb 0-1-0-2, Vinny Guappone 0-2-0-4, Shea Hildebrandt 0-1-0-2, Kendall Nicolai 0-1-1-3, Ethan Grant 0-6-0-12, Kelson Lund 1-0-0-3, Bennett Olson 2-8-0-22. Totals: 3-19-1-48.
Worthington (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Terbuto Ochothow 0-4-2-10, Meer Othow 1-3-2-11, Daniel Pavelko 1-0-0-3, Mikele Walu 0-1-0-2, Brock Bruns 2-3-1-13, Jiekgoy Weil 0-0-1-1, Jake Brandner 0-1-0-2, Joe Boever 1-1-0-5. Totals: 5-13-6-47.