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PREP GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Trojans edge Scarlets

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Trojans girls' basketball team was on the ropes in the Section 2AAA quarterfinals Tuesday night. In what WHS head coach Eric Lindner called a "frustrating" first half, the sixth-seeded Mankato West Scarlets held a 1...

WHS' Cham
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Trojan senior Sarah Cham (20) shoots inside of Scarlet defender Emmalei Huber (13) during Tuesday night Section 2AAA playoff action in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Trojans girls' basketball team was on the ropes in the Section 2AAA quarterfinals Tuesday night.

In what WHS head coach Eric Lindner called a "frustrating" first half, the sixth-seeded Mankato West Scarlets held a 13-4 lead over the local squad seven minutes into the game and closed out the opening half with a 29-22 lead over the third-seeded Trojans.

WHS was able to counter that halftime deficit with 15-2 run to start the final frame and knocked MW (11-15) out of the tournament with a 55-50 victory.

Kristen Andersen paced a WHS attack with 21-point, 15 rebound double-double. The junior center also came up with four timely steals.

"I was very proud of Kristen's effort," Lindner praised of Andersen's night. "It was one of her better ballgames of the season by the way she attacked the basket and, to be honest, she really saved our bacon (Tuesday) night."

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In fact, Andersen started the Trojans second-half run by scoring the first seven points (15-foot jump shot, 3-point shot from baseline and an offensive putback basket) to draw WHS back to even at 29-29 at the 15:30 mark.

Martha Alwal gave the Trojans their first lead a minute later as the 6-2 senior center posted up and made the go-ahead basket.

"We really gel around Martha," Andersen said of her post teammate. "We have a lot of confidence in Martha and when she came in the game, we started to gel better in the game."

Alwal, who came off the bench, scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half as well as grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking five shots.

WHS's 15-2 run also included a putback basket and a seven-foot jump shot from Alwal and a nice driving bucket from Megan Juber to give the Trojans a 37-31 lead with 12:30 to go.

The Scarlets scored four to get within two but freshmen guard Abbie Landgaard made a nice steal off of a MW inbounds pass and made a lay-up for a 39-35 lead.

Andersen collected a long rebound and drove in for a lay-up, Mackenzie Gerber (eight rebounds) scored on coast-to-coast lay-up and Alwal had another putback hoop but the visitors kept clawing back in it as the score ran to 45-all.

Alwal scored off an inbounds play followed by a Gerber basket as the Trojans took the lead for good at 49-45. Alwal later converted an old-fashioned three-point play and followed that up with another made free throw while Andersen knocked down a pair of free throws to complete the WHS scoring.

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"We did a much better job of getting the ball inside and attacking their zone in the second half," Lindner stated.

While things worked out better for Trojans late in the game, it was a slow and sloppy first half in which the home team as it never once held a lead in the opening 18 minutes.

Cassie Landgaard hit a 17-foot jump shot to tie the game at 2-2 early but MW answered with an 8-0 run to go up 10-2 with 12:50 to play in the first half.

Andersen scored off an offensive rebound putback to cut it to 10-4 but the Scarlets then ran their lead to game-high nine points at 13-4.

A Bernadette Boever 3-pointer and a free throw along with an Andersen basket got WHS back within three at 13-10 but MW answered with a Cara Christiansen (11 points) score.

Abbie Landgaard made a nice pass to Paige Gravenhof for a hoop to make it 15-12 followed by four points by MW to go back up seven before Alwal scored her first points of the night with a putback bucket.

Gerber found Andersen with a nice pass for a score followed by Andersen making a nice spin move out of zone trap for a hoop to come within one at 19-18 with 3:37 in the first half.

MW closed out the first half with 10-4 run as Andersen and Gerber each scored another hoop apiece to give the Trojans their halftime deficit of 29-22.

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"Sloppy game, it was a very sloppy game," Lindner said following the game. "We hesitated early and didn't take care of the ball against their zone. It was a very frustrating first half."

WHS turned the ball over 29 times in the contest compared to 21 turnovers for MW but the Trojans held the edge off the glass with a 57-37 advantage.

With the victory, the Trojans improve to 15-7 with a semifinal match-up with rival Marshall looming.

"We have to come out with a lot more intensity on Saturday against Marshall," Andersen proclaimed. "It's Marshall, we will be ready."

Lindner added "Marshall's a big enough rivalry that the girls understand that they need to play much better to be able to keep on playing."

WHS and Marshall met twice this year in the Southwest Conference with each team winning on its home court.

Saturday's rubber match starts at 7:00 p.m.

MW 29 21 -- 50

WHS 22 33 -- 55

MW (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Makela 1-1-2-7, Klaustermeier 0-1-0-2, Huber 1-1-0-5, Ahlquist 0-4-2-10, Sukalski 0-1-1-3, B. Christiansen 0-1-2-4, Doyle 0-4-1-9, C. Christiansen 0-5-1-11. Totals 1-19-9-50.

WHS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): C. Landgaard 0-1-0-2, A. Landgaard 0-1-0-2, Gerber 0-3-0-6, Alwal 0-7-2-16, Gravenhof 0-1-0-2, Andersen 1-8-2-21, Boever 1-0-1-4. Totals 2-22-5-55.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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