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Boys basketball: Trojans impressive in key win over Hutchinson

Worthington Trojan Adam Russell (51) looks for an opening in the Hutchinson defense as Seth Grob defends. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- It’s a signal of a good team that it not only holds onto a lead, but that it actually increases a lead.

The Worthington Trojans boys basketball team led Hutchinson by a single point at halftime Saturday afternoon at the local gym, then pulled away in the second half for an impressive 76-59 victory.

Saturday’s game pitted two Section 3AAA teams needing a win to enhance their tournament seeding. Worthington came out the winner by maintaining its focus both offensively and defensively, by getting contributions from starters and reserves, and by never giving up the initiative.

The Trojans came out strong in the 1:30 p.m. Saturday start, with all five starters converting field goals early for an 11-4 WHS lead. Up 32-31 at the half, Worthington scored the first five points of the second half on a Karasharo Ojulu fast-break layup and a Brock Bruns 3-pointer. Hutchinson applied defensive pressure, but the Trojans were able to handle it. And with 10:35 to go the hosts led 56-41. With 6:30 to go, it was 63-49. With 2:52 to go, it was 74-55.

“We really just stressed the first five minutes of the (second) half. We gotta just keep running with it, and rolling,” said senior guard Lucas Boever, who scored 19 points with seven rebounds. “We just started moving the ball. And Brock and Karasharo were just shooting the lights out with the three. Once they did that, we just had to wait for the right shots, and the shots kept coming.”

Bruns, a sophomore forward, also finished with 19 points, converting one 3-pointer in the first half and three more in the first seven minutes of the second half. Ojulu, a senior guard, tallied 20 points.

Seth Grob and Russell Corrigan each scored 20 points for Hutchinson.

WHS head coach Clint Meyer said the game was important for the fact that both the Tigers and the Trojans entered it “all kind of lumped together” with a pair of other teams in the middle of the section rankings. It still remains to be seen whether Worthington gets a home game, but losing to Hutch would have made their chances much slimmer, Meyer said.

Worthington is now 6-6 on the season. Hutchinson is 4-8.

“Coach told us from the start, it was a must-win,” said 6-0 sophomore guard Terbuto Ochothow after the game, adding that the players were determined not to suffer a second-half letdown.

“Coach wants us to keep the same mentality in the second half. It just makes us work all that much harder,” said Ochothow, who finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Meyer, never one to get too excited after a win, acknowledged the team’s improvement after securing its second straight win after a 5-game losing streak.

“Now we’re starting to click on offense as well. Our defensive effort has always been there, except for maybe a couple of times. And now the guys are buying into sharing the basketball more … and the guys are being more aggressive,” he said. “It’s good to see.”

Hutchinson 31 59

Worthington 32 76

HUTCHINSON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Grob 0-7-6-20, Marquardt 0-1-0-2, Kuseske 1-0-0-3, Starke 0-0-0-0, Corrigan 0-8-4-20, Hoff 0-3-2-8, Rensch 0-3-0-6. Totals 1-22-12-59.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Ojulu 2-6-2-20, Ochothow 2-3-3-15, Bruns 4-2-3-19, Weg 0-1-0-2, Boever 1-8-0-19, Brandner 0-0-0-0, Russell 0-0-1-1, Bickett 0-0-0-0. Totals 9-20-9-76.

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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