WORTHINGTON -- It was Senior Night, and one of the goals for the Worthington Trojans boys basketball team was to get senior forward Thomas Hunt some points.
First, they gave him a shot in the closing minutes of Thursday night’s B squad game. Actually, they gave him several shots. He missed them all, from as far away as 3-point range and as close as under the basket.
Then in the closing minutes of the Trojans’ 67-47 victory over Fairmont in the varsity game, they inserted him into the game to give him more opportunities. With the Cardinals laying back, the seldom-used forward attempted a few more from a variety of distances. Finally, with the clock rapidly approaching 0:00, he found himself free under the basket with no one nearby. He missed the first attempt, as the home crowd groaned. But he got his own rebound, then missed that one too. But the third one was magic. It went in.
The crowd went wild. Hunt’s teammates went even wilder. They gathered him up in the middle of the WHS gym and hoisted him on their shoulders.
And many would say this: That’s what high school basketball is all about.
Afterward, Hunt said this was the first time he’d ever been in a varsity game. The past two years, he served as the boys basketball team’s manager. He wanted to go out this year as a player, and head coach Clint Meyer was glad to hear it.
On Thursday, Meyer had a plan.
“I told him he’s dressing for varsity, and told him to be ready,” Meyer said. “He’s pretty quiet. He was awesome as our manager. I was happy that he decided to come out for the team.”
Needless to say, the slender wing isn’t a sharpshooter with the basketball. But the shot that he made Thursday was by far the most anticipated shot in the gym.
“He’s our secret weapon,” exclaimed fellow senior Terbuto Ochothow, who led all scorers with 22 points. “We thought it was nice enough to bring him in on Senior Night. And when he got in, he stepped up to the challenge.”
Hunt lived up to Meyer’s description of him after the game. He was, in fact, a man of few words.
“How do you feel?” he was asked.
“I feel great,” he answered.
“How did you feel about scoring a basket?
“Happy,” he said.
“How badly did you want to score?”
“Real bad. ‘Cuz I wanted to make a 3, but it didn’t work.”
“And what were you thinking about when you were out there?”
“I just need to shoot.”
Besides getting Hunt into the scoring column, the Trojans and Coach Meyer were pleased with the entire team’s effort. The players played hard the entire 36 minutes, said the coach, and they shared the basketball well. They were excellent defensively.
Brock Bruns finished with 12 points to complement Ochothow, Jake Brandner had 11 and Meer Othow 10.
Zach Jorgensen, a slick 6-3 junior, led Fairmont with 15 points.
Worthington moved to 7-5 with the win and now will go through a rough stretch for the remainder of the regular season -- against some tough opponents, and every remaining game on the schedule is on the road. On Monday the team travels to play Marshall, then it’s on to play Redwood Valley, Waseca, Southwest Christian and Windom Area.
Fairmont 30 47
Worthington 35 67
FAIRMONT (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Tordsen 0-6-2-14, Maakestad 1-1-0-5, Rodning 1-0-0-3, Jorgensen 1-5-2-15, Crissinger 2-0-0-6, Junkermeier 0-0-2-2, Winch 0-1-2-2. Totals 5-13-6-47.
WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Ochothow 2-7-2-22, M.Othow 0-3-2-10, Pavelko 0-1-0-2, Bruns 2-3-0-12, Weil 0-3-0-6, Brandner 0-3-5-11, Boever 0-0-0-0, Hunt 0-1-0-2, Gach 0-2-0-4. Totals 4-23-9-67.