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Girls basketball: Diew shot lifts Trojans past Redwood Valley, 56-53

Going straight up with a shot, Worthington Trojans senior Emma Thuringer (20) stays focused with a hand in her face from Redwood Valley Monday night. (Aaron Hagen/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Nyamer Diew’s shots weren’t falling Monday night. Neither were many of her teammates’ in the Trojans’ third game in four days.

But with 17 seconds remaining and the Worthington High School girls basketball team trailing visiting Redwood Valley 53-52, the 6-foot sophomore got the ball just where she wanted it -- on the left side of the lane about five feet away from the basket. So she did what she’s done countless times before. She slid into the lane and put up a turnaround jumper. It bounced a couple of times lightly on the rim and went in for a one-point WHS lead.

With 8.3 seconds remaining, Diew made two free throws to increase Worthington’s slim margin to 56-53, and that’s where it stayed as the weary Trojans improved to 15-8 on the season.

“That’s where I always go, to the middle,” Diew said about her shot. “If it’s not open in the middle, then I go the other way around. It was open in the middle.”

Diew was just 3-of-13 from the field before her big field goal attempt. Teammate Emma Thuringer, another high-scorer, was just 6-for-21.

Head coach Eric Lindner chalked it up to tired legs, so the only statistic he really cared about was the one in the win/loss column.

“We were just happy to get out of there with a win tonight. Good thing about the kids, they didn’t panic down the stretch,” he said.

Redwood Valley entered the game with a 6-16 record and a 49-42 win on its own floor against Worthington earlier this year. Both offenses were sluggish early on Monday -- the Trojans missed five of their first six free throws -- but they made their last six to close out the first half with a 24-23 lead.

Worthington slowly stretched its lead early in the second half, but the Cardinals refused to go away. With just 49 seconds to go, Redwood’s Nichele Mannz sunk a 3-point shot from the corner to give the visitors a 53-52 advantage. Thuringer then missed a shot on the other end and Redwood came up with the rebound.

But with 29.6 seconds to go, Mannz missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and the rebound was tied up at 20.2. It went to the Trojans, leading to Diew’s big turnaround jumper.

On the in-bounds pass, the Trojans went into a full-court press, and the Cardinals’ Sydney Sommers was called for traveling. The Cards had one last chance after Diew’s free throws upped Worthington’s margin to three points, but they could not get off a good shot in the last eight seconds.

Thuringer finished the game with 18 points. Payton Sauerbrei had 12 and Diew had 11. Despite their slow start at the free throw line, the Trojans finished with 18-of-25 free throw shooting. They committed only 12 turnovers to Redwood Valley’s 16 and out-rebounded the Cards 48-34.

Diew had 13 rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks. Thuringer had eight rebounds and three steals. Ashlyn Rosenberg had eight rebounds.

Sommers led Redwood Valley with 21 points, and Haley Garman had 16.

After the game, Lindner credited Diew with having the confidence to take her big shot with the game on the line -- especially since she was not having one of her better shooting nights.

But the attempt was meant to go to Diew, and she never wavered.

“That’s my shot. That’s my go-to shot,” she said.

And she did it despite feeling tired from all the recent basketball action the team has seen in the last four days.

“I was (tired),” she admitted after the game. “I’m really sore. Can’t move my shooting arm.”

Redwood Valley 23 53

Worthington 24 56

REDWOOD VALLEY (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Mannz 1-2-0-7, Frank 0-0-1-1, Martius 0-1-0-2, Sommers 2-5-5-21, Garman 0-6-4-16, Kodet 0-1-0-2, Ahrens 0-2-0-4. Totals 3-17-10-53.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Diew 0-4-3-11, Othow 0-0-0-0, Huisman 0-2-1-5, Sauerbrei 1-1-7-12, Thuringer 1-5-5-18, Weg 0-1-2-4, Wietzema 0-1-0-2, Rosenberg 0-2-0-4. Totals 2-16-18-56.

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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