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Sibley-Ocheyedan girls lead 23-2, hold on to beat WHS by 10

The Worthington Trojans girls basketball team lost to Sibley-Ocheyedan Saturday in the Trojans' first game of the new season

Worthington Trojans
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WORTHINGTON -- The Sibley-Ocheyedan Generals are setting their sights on an Iowa high school state girls basketball berth this year, and they probably made a few more believers Saturday afternoon by running to a 23-2 lead over Worthington at the Minnesota West Thanksgiving Classic.

Building a 42-18 lead at halftime, the Generals substituted freely in the second half as the Trojans fought to an 8-point deficit with 1:18 remaining in the game. But the northwest Iowans held on for a 65-55 victory.

“We’re hoping for our best season yet, hoping to get the first state appearance for us,” said 6-foot senior star Madison Brouwer.

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For four years Brouwer has teamed up with another outstanding General, 5-5 point guard Bria Wasmund.

Wasmund, who was lost to the 2021-22 season after five games due to an ACL injury, exited midway through the first half Saturday after rolling her left ankle. Sibley-Ocheyedan fans will be longing for her swift return, but even without her the Generals’ overall talent figures to make them hard to beat every time they step onto the floor.

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Worthington struggled in the first half with inconsistent passing that led to 17 turnovers. The Trojans’ strength is in their inside game, with seniors Tarren Spartz and Ellie Weg -- proven scorers and rebounders -- roaming the paint. Six-foot junior Madison Beckmann is another solid inside player, but on Saturday she helped play the point as WHS attempted to replace key ball-handlers who graduated the 2021-22 squad.

“A little slow start against their zone,” said first-year Worthington head coach Jessica Hogan. “Their length really bothered us a bit. We got a little more comfortable with it as the game wore on.”

Worthington’s afternoon game at the Minnesota West gymnasium was its first of the season. There’s still a lot of time to smooth out the wrinkles.

“We’re still piecing together what we have,” said Hogan.

In the second half the Trojans made inroads. Beckmann hit on a few shots from long range, and Spartz and Weg found their rhythm inside. Worthington’s defense, which was not always able to set up quickly enough to counter the up-tempo Generals, did better.

With just under four minutes remaining, WHS climbed to within 63-48. At 2:45 a Pham Gora 3-point shot made it 63-51. And a Weg layup made it 63-53 at 1:59.

After Sibley-Ocheyedan (2-0) took a 60-second time-out to recover from the onslaught, the Trojans struck again at 1:18 as Weg scored underneath, cutting the margin to 63-55.

“Credit Worthington. They fought all game,” said S-O coach Zach Wessels.

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“We adjusted to their quickness. Their quickness caught us off guard. It’s hard to simulate that in practice,” said Hogan.

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Brouwer finished with 15 points for the Generals, and teammate Marissa Ackerman had 20.

For Worthington, Spartz scored 19 points and Weg scored 15. Spartz also had seven rebounds while Weg and Beckmann both had six. Gora made five steals.

The Trojans also had 26 turnovers in the game.

Early-on, it appeared that Sibley-Ocheyedan’s 23-2 run would result in a blowout.

“I just think the flow of the game was helping us. The great transition,” said Brouwer. “We just love each other, and it’s just great to play with these girls.”

“We started out hot, there,” said Wessels, who didn’t play down the Generals’ lofty late-season plans.

“There’s a lot of talk about it (state). That’s our goal. But we know we have many steps to take. We just gotta get it going in the right direction.”

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On Saturday, they did.

Sibley-Ocheyedan 42 65

Worthington 18 55

SIBLEY-OCHEYEDAN (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Z.Ackerman 1-4-0-11, Wasmund 0-1-0-2, Jensen 0-1-0-2, M.Ackerman 0-8-0-16, Brouwer 0-7-1-15, Hensch 1-1-4-9, Elser 0-5-0-10. Totals 2-27-5-65.

WORTHINGTON (3FF-2FG-FT-TP) -- Beckmann 3-1-0-11, T.Spartz 0-7-5-19, Weg 0-6-3-15, P.Gora 1-2-1-8, Zeidi 0-1-0-2, N.Gora 0-0-0-0, Barber 0-0-0-0, Linder 0-0-0-0, J.Spartz 0-0-0-0, Bickett 0-0-0-0, Hamann 0-0-0-0. Totals 4-17-9-55.

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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