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Prep girls basketball: Luverne threatens, Worthington hangs on

WORTHINGTON -- A determined Luverne High School girls basketball team gave Worthington a scare on its home court Tuesday night, but when it was over the host Trojans were on the winning end of a 44-36 score.The Cardinals, trailing by double digit...

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TIM MIDDAGH/DAILY GLOBE Anneke Weg (left) and Allie Bruns (right) of Worthington put heavy defensive pressure on Luverne’s Morgan Haugen (25).

WORTHINGTON - A determined Luverne High School girls basketball team gave Worthington a scare on its home court Tuesday night, but when it was over the host Trojans were on the winning end of a 44-36 score.
The Cardinals, trailing by double digits for most of the second half and missing their most dependable scorer, 5-7 senior guard Morgan Haugen, due to foul trouble, found a way to claw back. They trailed by just one point with more than a minute and a half remaining but couldn’t get even.
After the game, WHS head coach Eric Lindner felt that he dodged a bullet.
“I’ve been around long enough that I know that in one of these close games, somebody that you never expect is gonna step up and make a shot to win the game - especially at home,” he said.
Not this time. And early in the second half it looked like a rout could be in the works.
Haugen, who had three fouls in the first half, picked up her fourth foul early in the second half and rode the bench as Worthington threatened to run away with the game. Luverne scored just one point through the first 8 1/2 minutes of the half but received a boost when 5-6 sophomore Sierra Schmuck hit the game’s only 3-pointer.
That made the score 33-23 in Worthington’s favor. Tough, aggressive defense helped the Cards cut the deficit further. At the 2-minute mark Hailey Remme made a shot underneath on a Haugen assist and the margin was 37-32. Two Haugen free throws at 1:37 made it 37-34. A Haugen layup off a steal of WHS point guard Emma Thuringer made it 37-36.
But Worthington stopped the bleeding. With 28 seconds remaining Thuringer meshed two free throws to put Worthington up 41-36. Thuringer then made a steal on the other end, was quickly fouled with 16.5 seconds remaining, and made one of two free throws to make it a six-point lead.
Haugen, despite spending many minutes on the bench, finished with 10 points. Remme led the Cards with 11. As a team, LHS converted just 30 percent of its field goal attempts.
Emma Gerber led the way for Worthington with 12 points and Thuringer had 10. Allie Bruns scored eight points and had seven rebounds.
“Too little, too late,” said Luverne head coach T.J. Newgard, whose Cardinals - who have six underclassmen on the roster - fell to 1-8 on the season. “I don’t ever question their effort. They played hard. They just don’t always play smart sometimes.”
When they played well on Tuesday, their press kept the Trojans from getting into a rhythm. “We knew if we pressured them, they were going to make mistakes just like we did when we got pressured,” said the coach, who added that one of the team’s goals was to get in the face of the Trojans “only proven outside shooter,” Emily Shaffer.
Shaffer finished with just three points - on three free throws.
Lindner was pleased that the Trojans’ zone defense paid some dividends. But overall, he said, it was not one of his team’s best performances.
“I thought we looked slow today as far as movement-wise. Luckily, they missed some shots,” he said. He also pointed out that the Trojans made some unnecessary turnovers when Luverne made its comeback.
“You have to recognize where the defense is playing,” he said.
The victory is the Trojans’ fourth in a row. They are 8-5 on the season.
Luverne 15 36
Worthington 22 44
LUVERNE (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - Schmuck 1-0-1-4, Remme 0-5-1-11, Anderson 0-0-0-0, Kneip 0-1-2-4, Jacobsma 0-2-0-4, Haugen 0-3-4-10, Hustoft 0-0-3-3. Totals 1-11-11-36.
WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - Alwal 0-1-1-3, Thuringer 0-2-6-10, Bruns 0-3-2-8, Gerber 0-5-2-12, Woll 0-2-1-5, Weg 0-1-1-3, Shaffer 0-0-3-3. Totals 0-14-16-44.

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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