Girls basketball: Trojans roll past JCC
WORTHINGTON -- Two early steals, finished off with easy layups by Ahmitara Alwal set the tone for the Worthington in its 67-28 girls basketball victory over Jackson County Central on Friday at Worthington High School. "We used our defensive press...
WORTHINGTON -- Two early steals, finished off with easy layups by Ahmitara Alwal set the tone for the Worthington in its 67-28 girls basketball victory over Jackson County Central on Friday at Worthington High School.
“We used our defensive pressure to turn into offensive points,” Trojans head coach Eric Lindner said. “They were trying to dribble side-to-side and use a high screen. And we tell our kids when they come off that screen to jump and contest that and they did a nice job.”
Lauren Murphy scored the first basket of the game for the Huskies, giving them a 2-0 lead, but that was the last time they would lead. The Trojans scored the next eight points and 23 of the next 25 as they dominated the first half. By the time the first half came to a close, Worthington held a 20-point lead 35-15.
Following two Emily Shaffer free throws that tied the game 2-2, Ahmitara Alwal stole the ball and converted easy layups on back-to-back possessions. Her aggressiveness sparked the Trojans defense that shut down JCC for most of the game -- dominating the boards and the perimeter.
Already holding an 8-4 lead, Worthington went on a 15-0 run with baskets from six different players -- Anneke Weg, Payton Sauerbrei, Rebecca Alwal, Ahmitara Alwal, Shaffer and Emma Thuringer.
Murphy finally ended the run with a 3-pointer to make it 23-7.
After baskets by Thuringer, Evelyn Othow and Ahmitara Alwal that gave the Trojans their largest lead of the half, the Huskies ran off six-straight points to make it 29-13. Annika Lilleberg scored four-consecutive points and Melissa Brandt added a free throw.
From there, the Trojans outscored the Huskies 6-2 to close the half.
The second half started the same way the first half did, with Murphy opening the scoring for the Huskies, and the Trojans putting together an 8-0 run. Ahmitara Alwal, Rebecca Alwal, Anneke Weg and Emily Shaffer all scored in the early second-half run.
Murphy ended the run, making a jump shot with about 13 minutes to go in the game.
After the initial Worthington run, freshman Madisyn Huisman came in off the bench to score 10 points in the second half, which tied for a team high with Ahmitara Alwal and Shaffer.
“She’s one of those kids that looks like she’s about a buck-twenty out there, but she comes down with rebounds and had some good things going. She came off and gave us a spark,” Lindner said.
With Huisman on fire, the Trojans outscored JCC 22-8 down the stretch to extend their lead to 39 points by the final buzzer.
Rebecca Alwal scored nine points for Worthington, while Thuringer and Evelyn Othow scored eight each.
Murphy led the Huskies with 10 points.
The last time Worthington played Jackson County Central, the Trojans’ 82-49 victory snapped a four-game losing streak and helped the Trojans get hot and find their winning ways. Worthington has gone 10-3 since their last meeting on Dec. 20, with its only losses coming to Class 4A St. Cloud Tech, undefeated Pipestone Area and Marshall.
Worthington has to hope it can come off this victory over JCC with a similar hot streak, with the postseason right around the corner.
The Trojans have three regular season games left, with a Feb. 13 game with Redwood Valley and a Feb. 21 game with Martin County West sandwiching a Big South Conference crossover game on Feb. 17.
“We’re coming down to the end of the season, so we’ve got to keep buckling down and keep working,” Lindner said. “Redwood is a big game in our conference and a win there will tie us for second in the Big South. So we need to stay focused and come out with energy on Monday.”
Jackson County Central 15 28Worthington 35 67