Spirit Lake recovers from 12-0 deficit, tops WHS girls basketball team

The Worthington Trojans looked sharp at the beginning of Monday's girls basketball game against Spirit Lake at the WHS gym. But the sharp-shooting northwest Iowans won in the end

Worthington's Tarren Spartz (24) drives past Spirit Lake's Charlotte Pritchard Monday night in Worthington.
Worthington's Tarren Spartz (24) drives past Spirit Lake's Charlotte Pritchard Monday night in Worthington.
Tim Middagh/The Globe
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WORTHINGTON -- There’s a saying in sports that you’re only as good as your next game.

The Spirit Lake Indians were horrible early in the first half Monday night against the host Worthington Trojans in a non-conference girls basketball contest. They’d beaten an outstanding Unity Christian team in double-overtime on Friday, and they were outscored 12-0 by the Trojans as Monday’s contest began.

Slowly but surely, Spirit Lake started to play like the team head coach Todd Rogers knew they are, and they defeated WHS 78-66.

Trojans bench joins head coach Jessica Hogan celebrate a steal  that culminates in two points during aMonday night game with visiting Spirit Lake.
The Worthington Trojans bench celebrates a steal that culminates in two points Monday night.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Worthington, meanwhile, defeated a good Southwest Minnesota Christian team on Saturday, 76-71, for its first victory of the 2022-23 season. However, they weren’t able to hold the Indians at bay once the visitors got hot.

“I like the way we came out. The way we came out was the way we expected it to happen after that game against Southwest Christian,” said Trojans head coach Jessica Hogan. “Spirit Lake came back on us. They’re good finishers around the basket, and they play hard.


“We knew what they can do. We just didn’t execute the way we can. And when we did, we just didn’t keep it going consistently,” Hogan added.

Spirit Lake connected on 12 3-point shots in the game, including seven by 5-9 junior Ella Turner.

Rogers said he half expected a sluggish start from his team on Monday, given his team’s inspired performance on Friday. And he got it.

“So you know what’s coming. You get them as pumped up as you can, and you’re kind of in quicksand. … I saw that once we saw the ball get in the hole -- a 5-point lead -- we started to get it together. I think then we started to wear them down,” Rogers said.

Worthington Trojans Phamananewyou Gora (44) takes a fast break down to the hoop for two points during a Monday evening game with Spirit Lake.
Pham Gora (44) of Worthington takes a fast break down to the hoop Monday against Spirit Lake.
Tim Middagh/The Globe

Tarren Spartz, who finished with 25 points for Worthington, scored seven of her team’s first eight points during the 12-0 run. By halftime, Spirit Lake assumed a 31-30 lead.

Worthington experienced some foul trouble after intermission. Madison Beckmann drew her fourth foul with 16:12 to go, and Pham Gora was whistled for her fourth at 11:06. Meanwhile, the Indians found their scoring touch.

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Author Shawn Fury, a Janesville native with Fulda roots, has made his love of basketball into a way of life

They also played better on defense, getting numerous steals against a WHS team that appeared to tire, while moving much better on offense. Turner, who hit on five of her seven 3’s in the second half to help the Indians pull away, led both teams with 27 points. Teammate Claire Turner finished with 24 points.

Spartz and Ellie Weg both had 10 rebounds for Worthington (1-2), and Weg also chipped in with 17 points. Beckmann had eight points and eight assists. Gora had three steals.


Worthington’s next game is Thursday at home against Marshall.

Spirit Lake 31 78

Worthington 30 66

SPIRIT LAKE (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- C.Turner 3-6-3-24, Schneider 0-5-2-12, E.Turner 7-2-2-27, Pritchard 0-1-1-3, F.Travis 0-1-1-3, Avery 2-0-2-8. Totals 12-15-11-78.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Beckmann 2-0-2-8, J.Spartz 0-0-1-1, N.Gora 0-3-0-6, T.Spartz 0-10-5-25, Weg 0-7-3-17, P.Gora 0-2-0-4, Zeidi 0-2-0-4, Barber 0-0-1-1. Totals 2-24-12-66.

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
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