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Boys basketball: Trojans hold on to beat BEA

BY AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- As of late, Worthington senior Nicholas Weg said practices have been more intense. And that intensity has carried into games, which has translated into more wins for the Trojan boys basketball team. "It see...

BY AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- As of late, Worthington senior Nicholas Weg said practices have been more intense.

And that intensity has carried into games, which has translated into more wins for the Trojan boys basketball team.

“It seems like practices are turning up and we’re bringing more energy to practice. It’s more enjoyable,” Weg said. “We’re playing better as a team than we did at the beginning, which is good to see at this time of the year. You want to be playing the best of your ability right now.”

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Blue Earth Area was the latest victim, falling 66-58 at the hands of the Trojans on Friday night.

“We’re all recognizing how we play since most of them didn’t play last year,” WHS sophomore guard Terbuto Ochothow said. “Now they’re on the floor and getting more minutes and we’re recognizing how each other play. Ball movement is going and it’s not just one person taking a shot.”

The win was the sixth in the last seven games for the Trojans, who improve to 13-9.

“We’ve been shooting the ball a lot better this last stretch, so that’s helped,” WHS head coach Clint Meyer said. “Our defensive effort has been pretty good and we’ve just been playing at a pretty high level overall. Tonight we were kind of stagnant a little bit and didn’t play with a lot of passion, I didn’t think, but we had two big games we were coming off of with Jackson and Southwest Christian.”

While Worthington had three games remaining, the five seniors were recognized before the game -- Karasharo Ojulu, Lucas Boever, Pwe Ku, Adam Russell and Weg.

“It’s a different feeling on the court, just thinking about the last few times you’ll be able to strap it up at home,” Weg said. “It’s just a weird feeling, a feeling that you’re not going to feel again.”

Early on, the Trojans turned up the defensive pressure. WHS had 14 steals in the game, led by five from Ochothow and Ojulu. The Buccaneers were forced into 21 turnovers.

“We have two of the best guards in the state playing together,” Weg said. “It really helps when we all apply pressure and it seems like other teams just break down.”

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With the game tied at 12, WHS went on a 13-3 run to lead 25-15.

“We knew that we could get out and pressure Blue Earth a little bit and we did that early,” Meyer said. “They did some things and adjusted, but Boever and Karasharo and Terbo were starting to anticipate and read things. They are pretty good at shooting gaps and picking guys if they are going to show you the ball.”

That lead held throughout the rest of the half. Boever scored late and Ojulu (15 points) put in a layup after a nice pass from Ochothow as WHS led 36-24 at halftime.

“Passing is probably one of my biggest strengths,” said Ochothow, who scored 34 points and had five assists. “Coaches say I’m gifted with it. I just take advantage of it.”

The Trojans couldn’t pull away from BEA in the second half, with the lead hovering around 10 points. However, with 1:18 remaining, the Bucs hit a 3 to cut the deficit to nine points. Another triple put the score 62-56 with 1:04 left.

“We felt like we had the lead and we got too comfortable,” Ochothow said. “Once they started hitting a couple shots, we recognized what we were doing wrong, so we had to matchup and figured out what they were doing and take that away. That’s what stopped them from scoring.”

BEA had a missed layup in transition, and Ochothow made a shot to push the lead back to eight. The Bucs made a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds, but a turnover late prevented the game from getting closer.

“It seemed like we didn’t come out full of energy. We’re usually a team to run up and down the floor and beat each other up the floor. It seemed like they slowed our game down, it affected us, but we adapted to it and came out with a W,” Weg said. “Like coach always says, you have to play for 36 minutes every night. It seemed like we didn’t play as hard as we could, like Jackson, we came out as hard as we could and came out with a big win.”

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The Trojans host Fairmont Saturday (Feb. 23), travel to Martin County West on Monday and finish the regular season with a home game Thursday against Waseca, which is ranked No. 2 in Class AAA.

“We have to keep playing hard and that’s all that matters,” Weg said. “If we keep playing hard, good results are going to come. Waseca is going to be a tough game, but we can hang with anybody. I feel like we’ll be alright.”

 

Blue Earth Area 24 58

Worthington 36 66

BLUE EARTH AREA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Anderson 1-4-1-12, Thielfoldt 1-0-0-3, Bell 3-1-0-11, Sanders 1-5-1-14, Struke l1-1-0-5, Gudahl 0-2-1-3, Storbeck 0-1-2-4, Herrmann 0-1-2-4. Totals 7-15-7-58.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Ojulu 1-6-0-15, Ochothow 3-9-7-34, Bruns 1-2-3-10, Weg 0-1-0-2, Boever 0-1-0-2, Brandner 0-1-1-3. Totals 5-20-11-66.

Related Topics: BOYS BASKETBALL
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