Fighting illness, Trojan boys have right antidote for Jordan

In a team effort, the Worthington Trojans boys basketball team overcame a first-half Jordan surge and won Saturday, 59-54


WORTHINGTON -- Once upon a time in Charlie Brands’ life, he thought he was going to be tall, like his father Doug.

But like the Rolling Stones always say, you can’t always get what you want.

Doug, a leader on the 1994 Worthington Trojans state basketball team, was 6-9. Charlie is seven inches shorter than that, at 6-2.

“For the past two years I’ve been expecting to get taller. Now that I’ve decided that’s probably not going to happen, I’ve decided to work on other things,” Charlie said Saturday night after the 2022-23 Trojans defeated Jordan 59-54 at the local high school gymnasium.

Brands, a senior, had an excellent game, scoring eight points (six in the second half), securing several important rebounds, and making key passes to teammates. He had to play well, and so did his teammates, because three of the Trojans were playing sick, and another teammate -- the super-athletic sophomore Jacari Swinea -- was too sick to play at all.


Saturday’s game was the second in as many nights for the Trojans, who had to fight for all their worth to beat Redwood Valley 73-65 on Friday. They had their work cut out for them against the Hubmen, too.

But the Trojans did win. They’re winning an awful lot this winter, and the trait that seems to show up the most is a never-quit attitude. They advanced to 16-3 on Saturday after leading 19-4 with 7:04 remaining in the first half, and later falling behind 24-21 at halftime. They played tough, physical defense throughout the second half -- their calling card -- and produced one more impressive victory.


“I think it’s chemistry. A lot of our team has been playing together so long. Last year was a rebuilding year, more or less. And this year we have these amazing teammates,” Brands said.

He added: “We’re ready to go to state this year. It’s been a dream of all of ours at a very young age, thinking of way back to the year my dad’s team did it. Sometimes we play down to the other team’s level. That happened a lot last year. But if we keep it going this year, that won’t be a problem.”

Worthington’s vaunted defense held Jordan to just two points for the first 7:41 of the game, and led at one point, 19-4. But Jordan roared back, scoring 20 of the next 22 points leading up to intermission.

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With 7:34 to play in the game, the Trojans finally managed a semi-comfortable lead, 45-34, as Mak Lia made a halfcourt pass to point guard Mikele Walu under the basket which resulted in a three-point play. A Brands offensive rebound and put-back at 4:53 made it 53-41. The Hubmen couldn’t come back from that.

Walu, Abagotte Opiew and Zach Hayenga all scored 12 points for Worthington.

Afton Koch scored 17 points for Jordan, and Nate Kes had 15 as the Hubmen fell to 10-9 on the year.


As for Charlie Brands, he may not be as tall as his father, but he certainly knows how to box out around the basket. His rebounding has been strong all season. His ability to be in the right spot at the right time is constant, and he leaps high to grab his rebounds with strong hands while the basketball is at its highest position.

Doug attended Saturday’s game like he always does. He said he doesn’t really know why Charlie never shot up quite the same way as he did, but he’s proud of what his son is accomplishing in the game he himself loves.

“We talked about it, that he’s got to keep working hard. A lot of the things don’t show up on the stat sheet,” Doug said.

Jordan 24 54

Worthington 21 59

JORDAN (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Olson 0-1-0-2, Noyes 1-2-2-9, Koch 3-4-0-17, Kes 2-3-3-15, Bakeberg 0-1-0-2, Runge 1-2-1-8, Schmidt 0-0-1-1. Totals 7-13-7-54.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Walu 0-5-2-12, A.Opiew 2-3-0-12, M.Opiew 1-2-0-7, Brands 0-4-0-8, Hayenga 2-1-4-12, Zeidi 0-1-0-2, Knothe 0-1-0-2, Lia 0-1-2-4. Totals 4-18-8-59.

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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