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Girls basketball: Trojans win opener against Windom Area

BY AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- It was a long road back to the basketball court for Nyamer Diew. After playing a few games a year ago before suffering a season-ending knee injury, the sophomore on Worthington's girls basketball team said ...

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The Worthington Trojans' Nyamer Diew drives past Windom Area defender Maurissa Isaacs Thursday night.(Tim Middagh/The Globe)

BY AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- It was a long road back to the basketball court for Nyamer Diew.

After playing a few games a year ago before suffering a season-ending knee injury, the sophomore on Worthington’s girls basketball team said she was excited to be back on the court.

“Overjoyed,” Diew said. “Really happy. Just thankful.”

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And on Thursday, Diew made her presence known. She scored a game-high 23 points to go with five steals, four rebounds, four assists and four blocks as the Trojans defeated Windom Area 86-53.

“I think we were all nervous and it was the first game, so we all just started really slow. But then we got it once the game started going,” Diew said. “We’ve all played together, so it wasn’t as new, but it’s new. So we were just like, ‘Let’s take it,’ and that’s how we started. We were all in our own little circles and we had to play as a team because it’s a team sport. We just needed a group conversation and then it just picked up.”

Diew played four-and-a-half games a year ago before she injured her knee in a game against New Ulm.

“When I first tore it, the first thing I asked Pat (Williams), our assistant coach was if I was going to come back this year. He was like, ‘I don’t think so,’” Diew said. “So then sadness overcame, and anger. But my team helped me realize that I could be a leader still on the bench. I don’t have to be a leader on the court all the time.”

After what she said was a “long and painful” recovery, she didn’t show signs of rust on Thursday as she made Worthington’s only three 3-pointers in the game in a second-half stretch where the Trojans began to pull away from the Eagles.

But early on, Windom Area hung tough with WHS. the Trojans jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but the Eagles battled back to tie the score at 10-all.

“I think what happened is we jumped out early and I think the kids wanted to win the game in the first four minutes,” WHS head coach Eric Lindner said. “They kind of got themselves in a situation where it initially worked in the first minute, the second minute, the third minute but once it turned to the fourth minute, the same kind of intensity that they started with, they got a little gassed.”

WA took a 20-18 lead on a jumper by Reegan Elder, but Worthington answered with a 10-1 run to lead 28-21 as Anneke Weg (10 points, 15 rebounds) scored eight points in the final 2:34 for WHS. Maurissa Isaacs (20 points) hit a 3 for the Eagles late in the half as the deficit was cut to four points at the break.

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“I think that gave our girls a lot of confidence,” WA head coach Jeff Huska said of taking a first-half lead. “We were kind of in uncharted territory a little bit and that’s one of the things we talked about, sometimes you can’t be surprised about the way things are going, you have to expect good things to happen. I think the difference in the second half was the fact that they really came out aggressive and we turned the ball over.”

Emma Thuringer scored six of WHS’ first six points in the second half as the lead began to grow. As the Trojan defense began to wreak havoc on the Eagles, Maya Scheitel-Taylor made a pair of baskets to cap a 21-8 run to open the second half.

“One thing that’s different you don’t see is we’re taking chances in the full court, but we’re more disciplined in the half court,” Lindner said. “Last year, we’d go out and try for a steal and then try for another steal and then we’re down numbers. These kids understand letting the ball come to you instead of going out and trying to make something happen.”

The Eagles cut the deficit to 14, but a pair of free throws by Payton Sauerbrei, a shot by Thuringer (18 points, eight rebounds, six steals) and a layup by Sauerbrei started a 13-0 run -- which was capped by a 3 from Diew with 9:02 remaining -- to put the game away.  

The 3 by Diew was the first of the game for WHS, which started 0-for-16 from beyond the arc.

“I think we were just rusty,” Diew said. “We had like two weeks of practice, but we were all really nervous, I guess.”

Windom Area 26 53

Worthington 30 86

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WINDOM AREA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Isaacs 2-6-2-20, Erickson 0-1-0-2, Elder 0-1-2-4, Ogeka 0-2-1-5, Hauge 0-4-7-15, Smith 0-3-1-7. Totals 2-17-13-53.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Diew 3-7-0-23, Bouman 0-1-0-2, Huisman 0-3-1-7, Sauerbrei 0-3-3-9, Thuringer 0-9-0-18, Scheitel-Taylor 0-2-3-7, Weg 0-4-2-10, Wietzema 0-1-4-6, Rosenberg 0-2-0-4. Totals 3-32-13-86.

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Worthington's Emma Thuringer (20) shoots over Windom Area defender Autumn Hauge (25) as Worthington's Anneke Wag ties up the Eagles' Shiro Ogeka (23). (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

Related Topics: GIRLS BASKETBALL
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