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Solid efforts: Bruns scores 33 as WHS boys basketball team defeats JCC, 82-59

There was enough satisfaction to go around Friday night at the Worthington Trojans’ home boys basketball game with Jackson County Central.

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Worthington Trojans Abagotte Opiew leaps up to fire a shot drawing a foul against Jackson County Central Huskies defenders Travis Rogotzke (20) and Trevin Gaustad (0) during a Friday night Game.(Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- There was enough satisfaction to go around Friday night at the Worthington Trojans’ home boys basketball game with Jackson County Central.

The Huskies played what head coach Alex Hein called their best game of the season. The Trojans maintained a healthy advantage, for the most part, and increased their record to 5-3.

Besides that, 6-6 senior forward Brock Bruns scored a career-high 33 points.

The final score was 82-59, but it’s an improvement for a winless JCC team. The new Huskies, very inexperienced after the graduation of all of their stars off last season’s state tournament squad, had lost all eight of their previous games by 20 points or more. On Friday they exhibited an impressive amount of scrappiness in losing by 23.

“I think that was our best game of the season. Last time we played Worthington, we lost by 40. Tonight we were in the game. There was a lot of growth. We’re taking our lumps, but we’re moving in the right direction,” said Hein.

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Actually, WHS beat JCC 87-36 in the first game. But why quibble?

The rematch was an opportunity for Bruns, who was easily the tallest player out there on the Trojans’ home court, to display his notable array of skills. He did everything, in fact, except sell popcorn -- which would have been a good idea, actually, because the concession stand in the lobby was still closed due to COVID-19 directives.

Bruns grabbed 10 rebounds. He dished off four assists, and he made three steals. His soft hands, firm grip and deft passing were important as the Huskie defense did everything it could to separate the Trojans from the ball. And his shooting abilities were strongly evident in both halves. He scored 18 points in the first half and 15 in the second half, and his four 3-pointers were all that the Trojans made in the game. He also connected on 13 of 16 free throws.

He looked to pass first, but he shot the ball when necessary.

“You always have to have somebody be a leader out there,” he said. “I’m a big team player, and it’s hard to see a teammate and not make a pass. But tonight with the height advantage I had over them, I had to step up and be a little selfish.”

The Trojans had remarkable scoring balance early in the game, as their first 12 points were split evenly among six players. With 8:32 remaining until halftime, JCC evened the score at 13-13 on an Erik Hasebeck layup, but Worthington scored the next 16 points.

Down 43-27 at the half, Jackson County Central fought and clawed with an aggressive, trapping, double-teaming defense, but the Trojans stayed in control.

“Overall, we held our composure pretty well,” said head coach Clint Meyer. “It got a little sloppy for stretches, but we were able to maintain that lead and we kind of kept pace with them when they were getting hot.”

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Terbuto Ochothow scored 10 points for the Trojans and he made 12 assists. Joe Boever had seven rebounds.

Gavin Jacobsen, with 16 points, and Erik Hasebeck, with 15, paced JCC.

Worthington turned the ball over 20 times -- too much for Meyer’s taste -- but he credited JCC’s defense with that.

“Alex has them playing extremely hard. They definitely competed the whole game,” he said.

JCC 27 59

Worthington 43 82

JACKSON COUNTY CENTRAL (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Gaustad 0-2-0-4, Phaly 1-1-1-6, Ahrens 1-2-0-7, Jacobsen 1-5-3-16, Rogotzke 1-1-2-7, Voss 0-0-2-2, Benda 0-1-0-2, Hesebeck 1-5-2-15. Totals 5-17-10-59.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Ochothow 0-5-0-10, M.Othow 0-3-1-7, Pavelko 0-3-0-6, Bruns 4-4-13-33, Walu 0-1-0-2, Brandner 0-2-1-5, Boever 0-2-0-4, Opiew 0-2-5-9, Brands 0-1-0-2, Gach 0-2-0-4. Totals 4-25-20-82

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Jackson County Central Huskies Roman Voss (44) looks for an open man as Worthington Trojans Jiekgoy Weil (23) presses in the defense. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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