Trojan girls fight hard but fall to Pipestone Area 55-52
Key Spartz shot goes in and out with 36 seconds to go; Beckmann plays outstanding game coming back from injury
WORTHINGTON -- When Tarren Spartz’s shot with 36 seconds remaining in the game went in and then out, the 5-11 Worthington High School senior looked shocked.
“I was. It would’ve been such a big game-changer, I think,” she said.
If it had counted, Worthington would have had a 52-49 lead over Pipestone Area in Tuesday’s Big South Conference girls basketball game at the WHS gym. But as it was, the Arrows grabbed the miss and Kyla Hubbling drained a 3-point shot on the other for the lead. The Trojans could not come back, falling 55-52.
The Trojan girls haven’t gotten a lot of breaks lately. Recently, they’ve been without three of their top players due to injuries. Without them, they struggled to compete.
But on Tuesday they returned two of them -- 6-1 junior Madison Beckmann and 6-0 senior Ellie Weg. Weg played sparingly, but Beckmann returned from her foot injury to play an outstanding game, finishing with 12 points on four 3-point shots while getting a team-high 11 rebounds. She began the season as one of the Trojans’ primary ball-handlers -- which is a new position for her -- and she is getting much better at it than she was early in the campaign.
In fact, Tuesday’s game might have been her most impressive ball-handling game of them all. Her determination and her confidence levels were high.
“I think I realized that I had to step up, because we lost two big seniors last year,” Beckmann said after the Pipestone Area game. “I knew I kind of had to take that in my hands. … As the year has progressed, we’re getting better at working together as a team.”
She was told that her improved confidence is obvious.
“It’s confidence, you bet,” she replied. “Last year I was a sophomore and I was a little bit afraid of making a mistake around the big kids. But now I’m one of the big kids, so I’ve gotta have more confidence.”
The Arrows are a good team. They brought a 10-7 record to Worthington on Tuesday, which included a not-so-secret weapon in 6-3 senior forward Arinn McGee, who became a worrisome defensive threat within the first minute of the game. She blocked four shots in the first half as the Arrows moved to a 25-21 halftime lead.
Beckmann hit three 3-point shots in the second half that provided a much-needed offensive spark for Worthington after its offense began to stall. Pipestone took a 49-42 lead with five minutes to play, but the Trojans pulled to within 49-48 at 2:14 on a Spartz shot off a missed attempt. Then at 1:48 Spartz drained two free throws for a 50-49 WHS advantage. Moments later came the Spartz miss on a short jumper that seemed to be more than halfway through the net before it came out again.
Tuesday’s game was a tough one for Worthington’s inside girls, but Spartz finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
“The whole game I was battling with my shots. They all seemed to go in and out,” Spartz said afterward. “I tried my best working my way around (McGee). But she’s so big.”
Aubrea Kor led Pipestone Area with 17 points and Jadyn Kor tallied 14. McGee, who drew her fourth foul with 8:49 remaining in the second half, finished with just two points. But her defense was crucial when she was on the court.
The loss dropped Worthington to 4-16 on the season. It’s always hard to lose a close game, but head coach Jessica Hogan said she was proud of the way her kids fought.
“I think we battled really hard. I thought our effort on the defensive end really set the tone for the game,” Hogan said.
Pipestone Area 25 55
Worthington 21 52
PIPESTONE AREA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Wiese 2-1-2-10, A.Kor 0-5-7-17, Kay.Hubbling 0-0-1-1, Ky.Hubbling 1-1-2-7, J.Kor 0-5-4-14, McGee 0-1-0-2, Tuinstra 0-2-0-4. Totals 3-15-16-55.
WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Beckmann 4-0-0-12, T.Spartz 0-6-3-15, N.Gora 1-0-0-3, Weg 0-0-0-0, P.Gora 1-0-0-3, Barber 1-1-0-5, Hamann 0-2-4-8, Zeidi 0-2-2-6. Totals 7-11-9-52.