Complete game: WHS boys basketball team rolls over JCC 90-57

Trojans play well on offense and defense in win over Big South rivals

Jackson County Central's Roman Voss (2) drives in from the corner while guarded by Worthington Trojans defender Marenono Opiew Tuesday in Worthington.
Jackson County Central's Roman Voss (2) drives in from the corner while guarded by Worthington Trojans defender Marenono Opiew Tuesday in Worthington.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- Jackson County Central’s defense was able to do nothing to slow down the Worthington Trojans, and the Worthington defense was as good as its reputation. In a Tuesday night Big South Conference clash, the Trojans boys basketball team defeated the Huskies 90-57 in Worthington to move to 12-2 on the 2022-23 season.

Nasim Zeidi, who came off the bench to score 12 points, was one of five Trojans who reached double figures. Nothing JCC did defensively was able to control the WHS offense. The home team rebounded with gusto on both ends of the court, their fast breaks and twisting, driving layups and long-range shooting gave the Trojans arguably their most complete victory of the season.

“Every day we practice on our defense. We try to get better every day,” said Zeidi, who swished two 3-point attempts. “We really didn’t have that good of a defense last year, but we all stepped up this year. We all take pride in our defense. That was our No. 1 goal, to have a really good defense.

“We all take pride in our offensive rebounding. We do a defensive drill every single day,” Zeidi summed up.

Worthington Trojans Kaleb Knothe takes a layup to the hoop past Jackson County Central Huskies Roman Voss (2) during a Tuesday evening game in Worthington.
The Worthington Trojans' Kaleb Knothe goes to the hoop.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Jacari Swinea, whose ability to score against tall odds, alone, is worth the price of admission to a WHS game, and he led all scorers with 19 points. Kaleb Knothe, the smooth 6-1 junior, tallied 16 points. Marenono Opiew opened the game with two 3-point connections for a 6-0 Worthington lead, and scored 11 of the Trojans’ first 13 points en route to a 14-point total after fouling out with 6:20 to play. Abagotte Opiew scored 13 points.


“We played a well-rounded game,” said Worthington head coach Clint Meyer. “Defensively, it’s just been what we’ve been doing all season. … We were able to have a complete game, which was good to see.”

JCC began to extend its pressure defense halfway through the first half as it fell further behind, but it didn’t slow the Trojans down. Meyer said that from game film, the Trojans knew JCC “likes to throw different presses at you.” The hosts were ready for anything.

Worthington Trojans Zachary Hayenga (21) takes a corner route to the net pursued by JCC defender Ben Gallagher during a Tuesday evening game in Worthington.
Worthington's Zachary Hayenga (21) takes a corner route to the net pursued by JCC defender Ben Gallagher.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Meanwhile, the Huskies rarely had opportunities for second-chance baskets, and the Trojans did just as well on the offensive boards as on the defensive side.

None of the Trojans was reluctant to take a shot, and certainly not Zeidi, a wide-bodied 6-0 senior who is better known for his football excellence than his productivity on the offensive side of a basketball floor.

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"There are years where you have a lot of talent, and there are years where you have great kids and good team chemistry. But when they collide – we are here today and we have a trophy like that."
Meanwhile, last year’s point guard Ta’Lon Cooper heads to South Carolina
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Marenono Opiew was a key factor on a deep Trojans basketball squad. His work ethic and attitude helped guide WHS to a memorable season.

“As long as we’re taking good shots, they’re all capable of making the shots that they’re shooting,” said Meyer. “They’re playing to their strengths and not forcing things.”

Jackson County Central (8-7) received 10 points apiece from seniors Travis Rogotzke and Erik Hesebeck.

JCC 22 57

Worthington 47 90


JACKSON COUNTY CENTRAL (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Hendricks 0-1-0-2, Rogotzke 2-1-2-10, Voss 0-0-6-6, Gallagher 0-0-1-1, Freking 1-1-2-7, Hesebeck 2-2-0-10, Kraus 0-2-0-4, Farmer 0-2-4-8, Grimmius 1-0-0-3, Rowe 0-2-2-6, Johnson 0-0-0-0. Totals 6-9-17-57.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Walu 2-1-0-8, A.Opiew 2-3-1-13, M.Opiew 2-4-0-14, Knothe 0-6-4-16, Hayenga 0-3-0-6, Swinea 0-8-3-19, Zeidi 2-3-0-12, Brandner 0-1-0-2. Totals 8-29-8-90.

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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