Bluejay men lose by one; Lady Jays struggle against Dordt JV

Minnesota West's Dillon Jackson (3) drives and takes a shot as Dordt University JV freshman Eli Van Essen attempts to make a block during the Sanford Classic in Worthington Saturday night.
Minnesota West's Dillon Jackson (3) drives and takes a shot as Dordt University JV freshman Eli Van Essen attempts to make a block during the Sanford Classic in Worthington Saturday night.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- Less than a half-dozen games into the 2022-23 basketball season, the Minnesota West men’s and women’s teams are beginning to see their challenges more clearly.

The Bluejay men were unable to hold a 12-point second half lead Saturday in Worthington at the Sanford Classic, losing 76-75 to Dordt JV. And head coach Brian Stoebner said his team is nevertheless “in a good spot” despite its 1-3 record.

“We’re still trying to figure us out a bit,” he explained. “We’ve got some new kids playing college basketball for the first time. I think, overall, we’re going to continue to play better. And we saw some of that tonight.”

For the Lady Jays, who did not play well in an 84-66 loss to Dordt, the game may have been something of an eye-opener. The women entered the season ranked No. 4 in the nation, but they didn’t look like it against the Defenders.

“We still gotta get some rotations down. We’ve gotta hit some outside shots. And we gotta learn sometimes to execute in the half-court,” said coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka, whose team is 4-1. “What I told them (in the locker room), we have so far to go. We haven’t even played what I consider a good game yet. It doesn’t matter what we did last year, it doesn’t matter how we’re ranked in the nation. We can’t have games like this.”


Minnesota West Team watches as head coach Brian Stoebner gives instructions as players defend against the visiting Dordt University JV during the Sanford Classic Saturday night in Worthington.
Minnesota West head coach Brian Stoebner shouts instructions in Saturday night's men's college basketball game against Dordt JV.


Dordt JV 76, Bluejays 75

Minnesota West led the Defenders 44-35 at the half and with 12:42 remaining in the game a 12-footer by Dillon Jackson increased the lead to 12. But Dordt crept back, helped by Sioux Center, Iowa, freshman Eli Van Essen who finished with 30 points.

With 4:53 remaining, a Van Essen 16-foot footer evened the score at 67-67. With the score tied at 75-75 late, Dordt took a time-out with 8.5 seconds left, lost possession of the in-bounds pass at 4.6, but regained possession of the ball when a jump ball was called.

Moments later a Spencer Mackey shot was blocked near the basket but a foul was called with 1.8 seconds to go. Mackey made the first and missed the second, and the rebound went to West. Immediately, at 1.4, the Bluejays called a time-out. But they were unable to get a shot off and lost by a mere point.

“They had a kid who just got real hot. We just needed to get more stops,” said Stoebner.

Minnesota West Blue Jays Brock Bruns (24) drives in to deliver a shot as Dordt University JV freshman Brayden Zimmerman (34) the hoop during the Sanford Classic Saturday night in Worthington.
West's Brock Bruns (24) drives in to deliver a shot Saturday night in Worthington.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Even so, he said his team played well overall after coming off two games in two days (West beat Northwestern JV by three on Friday). He noted some good performances off the bench, though he admitted his Jays “still have a long way to go.”

Dordt JV out-rebounded West 52-35 and hit 43 percent from the field to West’s 40 percent.


Kong Neyail led Minnesota West with 19 points and five rebounds.

Dordt JV 35 76

Bluejays 44 75

DORDT JV (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- DeJong 0-0-4-4, Morrow 1-1-2-5, Mackey 2-1-1-9, Huyser 0-4-1-9, Krommendyk 0-2-0-4, Gulker 1-1-3-5, Van Essen 1-11-5-30, Fransman 0-2-0-4, Zimmerman 0-1-2-4, Kimm 0-1-0-2. Totals 5-24-13-76.

BLUEJAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Rue3i 0-3-2-8, Bruns 2-1-2-10, Neyail 0-9-1-19, Jackson 0-4-2-10, Williams 1-1-2-7, C.Drent 0-2-2-6, D.Drent 2-1-0-8, Kindred 0-2-3-7. Totals 5-23-14-75.


Dordt JV 84, Lady Jays 66

Dordt led 17-15 at the end of the first quarter and stretched its lead thereafter, taking advantage of a Minnesota West team that connected on just 32 percent of its field goals, including zero of 14 from 3-point range. The Lady Jays won the turnover war with 20 to the Defenders’ 31, but they shot poorly and couldn’t stop their rivals on defense. Too often, they were unable to get back on defense in time to halt Dordt’s deft passing and consistent inside-outside shooters.


It was just a bad game, basically.

“We couldn’t hit any shots. Honestly, I think that affected our effort a little bit, I don’t like having to talk about our effort,” said Hayenga-Hostikka.

Tom Goehle, son of legendary coach Hugo Goehle, was once a star athlete at Hills-Beaver Creek High School. Now he gives back through coaching and his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
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Trailing at halftime, the Worthington High School girls basketball team outscored Albert Lea 49-27 in the second half Thursday night in Worthington

The Defenders spaced themselves well on the court, made good and timely passes, and made -- from the Jays’ perspective -- way too many easy baskets. They outscored the host team 26-21 in the third quarter to take a 13-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Hayenga-Hostikka said her team’s deficit wasn’t really all that much if only it could make a run, but that never happened. The Lady Jays were unable to cut the deficit to 10 points or less throughout the entire fourth quarter.

Tia Murray led the Jays with 18 points while Olivia Hayenga finished with 14, Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor 13 and Dannyn Peterson 10.

Dordt JV 17 36 62 84

Lady Jays 15 28 49 66

DORDT JV (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Smith 2-2-0-10, Goodwin 0-4-2-10, T.Drent 2-4-0-14, Davis 0-1-0-2, M.Drost 2-4-0-14, DeJager 0-0-1-1, Peacock 0-1-0-2, Wright 3-1-0-11, K.Drost 0-4-1-9, Wine 0-4-3-11. Totals 9-25-7-84.

LADY JAYS (3FG-2FFT-TP) -- Murray 0-7-4-18, Peterson 0-5-0-10, Scheitel-Taylor 0-5-3-13, Huisman 0-3-1-7, Hayenga 0-4-6-14, Drapeau 0-1-0-2, DeVries 0-0-2-2. Totals 0-25-16-66.

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at
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