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Bang-pow: WHS boys basketball team dominates Mankato East in Section 2AAA opener

It was billed as a game between the second- and seventh-ranked boys basketball teams in Section 2AAA and, not surprisingly, it became a rout. But it was the seven team, not the two, that administered the pain.

MANKATO -- It was billed as a game between the second- and seventh-ranked boys basketball teams in Section 2AAA and, not surprisingly, it became a rout. But it was the seven team, not the two, that administered the pain.

The Worthington Trojans, armed with an 8-10 record going into their Friday night showdown with 13-3 Mankato East, didn’t just win the game -- they dominated. They dominated from start to finish, winning 74-46 in what had to have been a shocker to the Cougars and their fans even though East wasn’t at full strength.

WHS seniors Brock Bruns and Terbuto Ochothow turned in outstanding games at Mankato East High School. Bruns, who turned 18 on Friday, finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and Ochothow, who connected on five 3-point shots in the first half, had 20 points and six rebounds.

The Trojans didn’t waste any time showing the Cougars they came to play as Godmar Gach scored off the tip and saw his team work out to a 7-0 lead before East scored. With more than 10 minutes remaining in the half, Bruns completed a 3-point play to make it 16-7, then it was 19-7 on a deep Ochothow 3-pointer.

Another Ochothow 3 made it 22-7 at 9:08 as the Cougars took a time-out to regroup. But there was no relief. Ochothow’s third 3-point shot made it 27-7, and with four and a half minutes remaining his fourth put WHS up by 20, 31-11. The margin ballooned to 41-11 on a Daniel Pavelko shot. It was 41-14 at the half.

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Worthington continued to have its way with the Cougars in the second half, leading by as much as 52-23 with 11 minutes remaining in the game. Playing man-to-man defense, with pressure, the Trojans didn’t give their opponents a chance at a comeback.

Final totals showed WHS with 10 offensive rebounds and only six turnovers.

Head coach Clint Meyer said the team had heard reports that three Mankato East starters and two bench players would not be able to play because of Covid. But it was just a rumor before game time, and the Trojans prepared as if the Cougars would be at full strength.

“The way we came out and the way we shot the basketball, we would’ve been in the game regardless,” Meyer said.

Ochothow, he said, was the team’s emotional leader. “He got things going. He was hitting shots early. We just got contributions from everybody, up and down the lineup.”

And Bruns, who was serenaded by fans with the birthday song after the game, had a hot hand throughout.

On Tuesday at 8 p.m., the Trojans will head into the tournament semifinals against No. 3 seed Marshall, which eliminated sixth seed St. Peter in its quarterfinal game on Friday. The Tigers outscored their Big South Conference rival Trojans 73-41 and 56-47 in a pair of regular season contests.

“Our record, I don’t think it reflects how good we are and how dangerous we can be,” Meyer said.

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Worthington 41 74

Mankato East 14 46

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