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Mankato West eliminates WHS girls basketball team

A good run by Mankato West to start the second half got the Scarlets separation from Worthington Thursday night, and the third seed of the Section 2AAA girls basketball tournament defeated their sixth-seeded counterparts 69-49.

MANKATO -- A good run by Mankato West to start the second half got the Scarlets separation from Worthington Thursday night, and the third seed of the Section 2AAA girls basketball tournament defeated their sixth-seeded counterparts 69-49.

The Trojans played the Scarlets virtually even for most of the first half, but going into intermission allowed the hosts to make adjustments that worked in their favor.

“They got a run on us. It probably would have been better if we didn’t have the break at halftime,” said WHS head coach Eric Lindner.

West, which led 33-26 at the half, led by 15 points with much time remaining in the second half. With seven and a half minutes to go, the lead was still 15 points.

Olivia Hayenga played a consistent game for the Trojans and finished with 13 points. Sophie Wietzema finished her career with eight points and 11 rebounds. Tarren Spartz scored 12 points and Stephie Bauman had 11.

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Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor missed six-to-eight minutes of the first half with an ankle injury.

Lindner credited Mankato West with playing well. The Scarlets were more physical than most of the teams Worthington contends with in the regular season, he said, and they were quick, as well.

“They were pretty good at hustling after the ball. It was like we were a step slower,” Lindner said.

Briana Stoltzman, a 5-9 senior guard, scored her 1,000th career point early in the first half for Mankato West. But the Trojans stayed close to the higher seed. Bauman, a senior guard, drained a 3-pointer that cut West’s early lead to 13-11. Hayenga’s second 3-point shot evened the score at 16-16. After West ran off the next five points and later upped the margin to 26-20, Worthington scored six straight culminating on a Spartz drive.

The Scarlets upped the defensive pressure late in the half to go up by seven at the break.

The Trojans, who finished 14-5 on the season, had a good year, Lindner said. With the win, West improved to 14-3.

“It’s sad to see those kids go,” Lindner said of his seniors. “They had a pretty good season. Anytime you can go 14-5, you know you did some good things.”

Worthington 26 49

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Mankato West 33 69

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