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Steady defense helps Trojans boys basketball team top Pipestone Area

Already down by 14 points at halftime, the Pipestone Area Arrows went scoreless for 14 possessions to begin the second half Tuesday night, and the Worthington Trojans boys basketball team came away with a 44-30 victory.

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Pipestone Arrows Dawson Kellen (23) leaps up to clear a shot Past Trojans defenders Jake Brandner (25) and Terbuto Ochothow during a Tuesday Night game in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Already down by 14 points at halftime, the Pipestone Area Arrows went scoreless for 14 possessions to begin the second half Tuesday night, and the Worthington Trojans boys basketball team came away with a 44-30 victory at the WHS gymnasium.

The Trojans moved to 6-3 on the year on a night where both teams were inconsistent on offense. Worthington’s consistent defensive effort kept the Arrows from making a comeback in the second half.

“I thought the first half, especially, that was our best defensive effort this season,” said WHS head coach Clint Meyer, whose team led 28-14 at intermission. “That’s what really kept us in it because neither team was lighting it up on the floor.”

One player had a solid shooting night, and that was Worthington senior guard Terbuto Ochothow, who finished with 21 points, including all of the Trojans’ five 3 pointers.

He was in his zone early. All five of his 3’s occurred in the first half, and his fifth 3 with less than a minute remaining was followed by a rebound on the other end of the floor, where he threw a football pass to teammate Jake Brandner for a layup.

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Only one other player, from either side, scored in double figures, and that was Pipestone Area’s Merrick Heidebrink, with 10. The Arrows’ fine 6-6 senior center, Dawson Kellen, was held to just two points for the game.

“Any time he caught the ball, we wanted to send a double-team right away. He really hurt us the first time we played ‘em. What we wanted to do worked, and we stayed with it,” said Meyer.

Early this season, Worthington defeated Pipestone Area 60-50 in Pipestone. Kellen was a big offensive weapon in that one, but in the rematch he was held in check along with virtually all of his teammates.

Down by 14 at halftime, PA coach Todd Tinklenberg exhorted his team to “push” at the start of the second half, but although they were more aggressive they couldn’t cut the margin. Neither team scored in the half, in fact, until Ochothow hit a free throw with 14:23 showing on the clock. Pipestone Area didn’t get a bucket until the 10:21 mark when Kaden Musch scored on a short turnaround layup.

The loss dropped Pipestone Area to 4-5.

Meyer said his Trojans are learning to play well together. Offensively, their motion offense looked very good at times on Tuesday, and it opened up the passing lanes. The defensive pressure, though there were one or two lapses in the second half, stayed together.

“We didn’t break down, either,” Meyer said. “We did it for long possessions. We just gotta keep our energy up in games like this.”

Pipestone Area 14 30

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Worthington 28 44

PIPESTONE AREA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Zephier 0-2-0-4, Heidebrink 2-2-0-10, Johnson 0-1-0-2, Musch 0-1-3-5, Lingen 1-0-0-3, Kellen 0-1-0-2, Lorang 0-2-0-4. Totals 3-9-3-30.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-T) -- 5-2-2-21, M.Othow 0-1-0-2, Bruns 0-2-5-9, Pavelko 0-0-0-0, Brandner 0-3-0-6, Boever 0-2-0-4, Gach 0-1-0-2. Walu 0-0-0-0. Totals 5-11-7-44.

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Trojans Brock Bruns fires off a jump shot as Pipestone Arrows defenders Dawson Kellen (23), Kaden Musch (24) and Merrick Heidebrink (11) attempt to break up the play Tuesday Night in Worthington. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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