Boys basketball: Focused Trojans bend Arrows

Aaron HagenDaily Globe WORTHINGTON -- Zach Boever's philosophy on winning basketball games is pretty simple. "Score more than the opponent," said the junior on Worthington's boys basketball team. "Defense wins games, offense decides by how much."...

Worthington High School junior Zach Boever (11) blocks a shot from Tyl Woelber (24) Thursday night in a Big South boys basketball game in Worthington. AARON HAGEN/DAILY GLOBE

Aaron Hagen
Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON - Zach Boever’s philosophy on winning basketball games is pretty simple.
“Score more than the opponent,” said the junior on Worthington’s boys basketball team. “Defense wins games, offense decides by how much.”
The Trojans had it going on both ends of the floor Thursday as they earned a 74-63 victory over Pipestone Area in a Big South Conference game.
“It feels great,” Boever said moments after the Trojans secured their second victory this season. “I feel like we played really great. We had some lapses where we didn’t play too good, but then we really made it up for a lot of stops that we had later on in the game.”
The game was tied at 34 at halftime, and with five minutes remaining in the game, WHS held a slim two-point lead. The Trojans outscored the Arrows by nine points in the final minutes to pull away.
“We wanted that one bad,” Boever said. “We’re sick of losing. We need to win.”
The Trojans (2-4) were playing on their home floor for the second time this season. The first game, a 26-point loss to Windom, didn’t leave a good taste in the mouths of WHS.
“It’s our home floor, we have to come out and we have to show our fans what brand of basketball we’re going to play this year,” WHS head coach Clint Meyer said. “Windom, we kind of had some ups and downs with Gbrown (Ochothow) going out and we kind of got out of rhythm. Tonight, we were prepared, we were ready and the kids responded. If they can keep playing at that high of a level, we’ll be in good shape.”
Boever led all scorers with 24 points. He added seven rebounds and three steals.
“I just try to do my best every night and just whatever coach wants me to do, I’ll do it,” Boever said. “I love winning, I hate losing. I can’t stand losing.”
The Trojans had three players in double figures, including Tyler Linder (12 points, nine rebounds) and Logan Huisman (12 points, eight rebounds).
“It’s nice that everybody is doing everything,” Boever said. “I’ve always told our guys, if eight of our guys score 10 points a game, we can win games. We’ll have 80 points and keep it balanced.”
Stewart Merrigan finished with eight points, while OD Othow had seven points, five assists and four steals for WHS.
“That’s how we have to play this year, we have to play collectively as a group,” Meyer said. “Guys will have their nights scoring big, Boever had a good game for us. But for us to be successful, we have to have everybody contribute, not just scoring, but defensively.”
The first half was close throughout as neither team led by more than six points. A pair of free throws by Tyl Woelber gave the Arrows the lead out of the break. But two free throws and a jumper by Huisman, and a 3 from Othow gave WHS a 41-36 advantage.
Joe Morgan (eight points) answered with two baskets and Caleb Tinklenberg (six points) hit a jumper for the Arrows, but WHS answered with two free throws by Merrigan to take the 43-42 lead. Worthington wouldn’t trail again.
“It was a gritty effort,” Meyer said. “Our guys played their tails off, I thought, the whole game and really battled. We knew Pipestone had good size and were physical coming in. They got a few offensive rebounds, but we battled to the end.”
WHS wasn’t able to pull away from PA, as an offensive rebound and put back by Matthew Kennedy brought the Arrows within two points late in the game. Merrigan made two free throws, Linder hit a shot and Huisman put back an offensive rebound as the Trojans quickly increased the lead to eight points. The Arrows couldn’t make a run late as it was the Trojans who came away with the 11-point win.
“I feel like our shooting was good tonight,” Boever said. “Our defense really stepped up. What did we hold them to? 63? Our goal every game is to hold them under 60, so I felt we did pretty good.”
WHS is at New Ulm on Saturday, while PA falls to 3-4 this season and will be at Murray County Central Saturday.
“There’s a lot of basketball left to be played, but we have to get punched in and figure some things out,” PA head coach Troy Bouman said. “We’ll continue to keep working.”
Pipestone Area 34 63
Worthington 34 74
PIPESTONE AREA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Larson0-2-1-5, Bobendrier 1-0-1-4, Tinklenberg 0-2-2-6, Swanson 0-0-2-2, Kanthak 0-4-4-12, Biever 1-0-0-3, Pottratz 0-0-2-2, Onken 0-0-3-3-, Rops 0-5-0-10, Woelber 0-0-2-2, Kennedy 0-3-0-6, Morgan 0-4-0-8. Totals 2-20-17-63.
WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Othow 1-1-2-7, Boever 3-5-5-24, Braaksma 0-2-0-4, VanHove 0-2-0-4, Huisman 0-4-4-12, Merrigan 0-2-4-8, Sorenson 1-0-0-3, Linder 0-4-4-12. Totals 5-20-19-74.

AARON HAGEN/DAILY GLOBE Stewart Merrigan (33) of Worthington and Caleb Tinklenberg (2) of Pipestone Area tangle Thursday night.

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