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Girls basketball: Trojans girls bruise Jordan 59-54

WORTHINGTON -- A block here, a tackle there, and maybe a forearm shiver or two, and it added up to an important 59-54 victory for the Worthington High School girls basketball team Saturday afternoon.

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Tim Middagh/Daily Globe Worthington's Ahmitara Alwal (14) finds a hole in Jordan Jaguars defense and shoots between Jordan's Lydia Plechaty (44) and Brooke Sievers (5) in the Trojans victory on Saturday at Worthington High School.

WORTHINGTON -- A block here, a tackle there, and maybe a forearm shiver or two, and it added up to an important 59-54 victory for the Worthington High School girls basketball team Saturday afternoon.

“Oh, my God, it’s football,” remarked Trojans head coach Eric Lindner.

He wasn’t far off. The Trojans, who always pride themselves on being aggressive, pushed the needle to high as Section 2AAA rival Jordan came to town.

One might say the WHS gym was the place where bruises go to be made. And if the officials hadn’t let the two teams compete as the game were played on a floor lined with yard markers, fans might have been late for supper despite the 3 p.m. start.

But it was just the way the Trojans like it.

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Ironically, just one day earlier the Trojan girls were demolished on the road by an outstanding Pipestone Area team, 70-34, and Lindner pointed out afterward, “They were much more physical than us.”

That rarely happens. It didn’t on Saturday as the WHS girls won a key section victory. Lindner hoped the win, which pushed the Trojans to 12-6 overall while dropping Jordan to 11-7, might improve his team’s seeding prior to the start of section play. It evened Worthington to 2-2 against the eight-team 2AAA field.

Worthington led Jordan for most of the way but went through a second half scoring drought against a Jaguar squad that met the Trojans’ aggressiveness with their own stepped-up aggressiveness that cut a 13-point WHS lead to 51-48 with under three minutes remaining.

Lindner said the Trojans lost their heads for a while.

“But I was very proud of the way our girls persevered,” he said.

Ahmitara Alwal, a 5-6 senior guard, led Worthington with 17 points. Lindner singled out 5-9 freshman Rebecca Alwal for special praise. The young center scored 10 points of her own, handled the ball well, and went hard to the basket.

Worthington also got 16 points from senior forward Emily Shaffer, who has taken up much of the scoring chores in recent weeks. Shaffer started slowly, however, missing her first five shots -- including her first three from the wing. But with 11:18 to play in the first half, she finally hit paydirt -- on a 3-point attempt. Then less than 30 seconds later she hit another three that put her team in front, 18-14.

WHS led 37-31 at halftime and upped it to 44-32 on Shaffer’s third, and last, 3-pointer of the game. Then came a lengthy cold spell for the Trojans as Jordan scored the next eight points.

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Jordan’s Brooke Sievers, who led all scorers with 24 points, made a steal near midcourt and drove for a layup that cut Worthington’s lead to 51-48. But the Jags, who competed Saturday without their injured top scorer, Ashley Freund, could get no closer.

Sidney Bendzick scored 12 points for Jordan. Anneke Weg had eight for Worthington and Evelyn Othow added five. Emma Thuringer, another Trojan who has stepped up her offense in recent games, mustered just two points.

If the Jaguars had shot free throws just a little bit better, they might have eked out a victory. They made just 11 of 24 attempts for the game, compared with Worthington’s 19 of 35.

Jordan 31 54 Worthington 37 59

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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