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Boys basketball: Trojans show teamwork, depth in victory over Luverne

WORTHINGTON -- Team basketball is a thing of beauty when it happens, and on Tuesday the Worthington Trojans put on a display in their 70-42 boys basketball triumph over Luverne.

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Tim Middagh/Daily Globe Worthington's Tyler Linder (45) arcs a hook shot over the head of Luverne's Cole Claussen (22) in the Trojans victory on Tuesday in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- Team basketball is a thing of beauty when it happens, and on Tuesday the Worthington Trojans put on a display in their 70-42 boys basketball triumph over Luverne.

The Trojans showed depth, teamwork and energy in winning their second game of the 2016-17 season in as many tries, and even a scoreless first half from their leader didn’t slow the Trojans down.

Luverne opened the game applying a box-and-one defense against all-purpose senior forward Zach Boever to keep him from taking over the game at the outset. But no matter. Boever was all over the floor, quarterbacking, passing and setting up his teammates as the Trojans moved out to a 27-19 halftime lead.

The Trojans’ lone All-Big South Conference performer rarely attempted a shot in the first half, but he didn’t need to. Tyler Linder, a 6-3 junior forward, made his presence felt early inside. Teammate Logan Huisman also shone offensively. Several other Trojans stepped up, as well, putting truth to the preseason perspective of head coach Clint Meyer -- that this year’s Trojans have the overall depth and experience to make good things happen this winter.

Meanwhile, Boever was perfectly content to do everything but put the ball in the hoop.

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“He sees things other people don’t see. He’s a great player, and he’s the reason I scored 20 points tonight,” said Linder.

Not entirely. Linder not only finished with 20 points -- getting lots of those baskets on his own using his own muscle and determination -- but he also led WHS with 13 rebounds. Huisman tallied 16 points.

Stewart Merrigan, a 6-7 junior, was especially dominant late in the second half when the Trojans outscored the Cardinals 43-23, and he finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

As a team, Worthington had 18 offensive rebounds. The Trojans connected on 30 of 68 field goals for 44 percent while holding Luverne to 14-for-47 for 30 percent.

Boever scored nine points in the second half. He also came up with three steals and five assists in the game.

“The guys did a good job,” Meyer said after the contest. “(Zach) scored when he had opportunities to score. But we got everyone involved. We played more of an up-tempo game in the second half.”

Both Linder and Meyer noted that the energy level was high. Linder’s fist-pumping and full-throated vocalizing was particularly noticeable.

“We’re a lot more energetic this year. We’re more like a family,” he said.

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Worthington took an early 7-0 lead in the first half, took it to 23-9 on a Nathan Boneschans 3-point play, and stayed calm against late-first half full-court pressure applied by the Cardinals.

Boever didn’t wait long to get into the scoring column when the second half started, making a steal on one end and driving for a layup on the other end for the Trojans’ first points of the half. Midway through the half the Trojans put up a flurry of points until LHS just simply couldn’t keep up. A 3-point shot by reserve Fra-ol Balda shortly before the game ended inspired the biggest cheer of the night by a celebratory WHS fan section.

Luverne (0-2) was led offensively by junior center Cole Claussen’s 13 points. Layne Curtis scored 10.

“We just gotta keep the energy level up,” Meyer said. “They threw a lot of defenses against us, but we did what we had to do. I’m so proud of the way we came out defensively in the second half, especially.”

Luverne 19 42Worthington 27 70LUVERNE (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Robinson 1-2-0-5, Lundgren 0-0-1-1, Claussen 0-5-3-13, Curtis 1-3-1-10. Jacobsma 0-1-2-4, Bierman 0-0-0-0, Siebenahler 0-1-1-3, Wagner 0-1-4-6. Totals 2-12-12-42.WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Boever 1-3-0-9, Huisman 2-3-4-16, Merrigan 0-6-0-12, Linder 0-10-0-20, Boneschans 0-1-1-3, Asefa 1-2-0-7, Sorenson 0-0-0-0, Balda 1-0-0-3. Totals 5-25-5-70.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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 dwolter@dglobe.com.
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