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Trojan Holiday Classic: Mankato West edges Worthington in championship

WORTHINGTON -- The Mankato West boys basketball team held off a dramatic Worthington comeback attempt to defeat the Trojans 52-49 and claim the crown at the Daily Globe Trojan Holiday Classic Friday at Worthington High School.

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Tim Middagh/Daily Globe Mankato West boys basketball player Dondre Spann (23) gets past Worthington Trojan Logan Huisman for a shot Friday at the Trojan Holiday Classic.

WORTHINGTON -- The Mankato West boys basketball team held off a dramatic Worthington comeback attempt to defeat the Trojans 52-49 and claim the crown at the Daily Globe Trojan Holiday Classic Friday at Worthington High School.

Worthington trailed by as many as 12 points, 48-36, late in the second half, but took control down the stretch, coming up just short.

“You’ve got to tip your hat to Worthington,” Mankato West head coach Daniel Meier said. “They played better than we did and we got lucky at the end. They probably deserved that one more than we did. We had chances to put it away early. We jumped out to a big lead, but we couldn’t sustain it.”

Sophomore guard OD Othow kicked off a 13-2 run that brought Worthington within one point with an open jump shot to make it 48-38. The next Trojan points came on two free throws by center Stewart Merrigan, and then a Tyler Linder jump shot off an inbound pass that made it 50-43.

That’s when senior forward/guard Zach Boever took over. He didn’t score his first points until the second half, but got his eight points when they mattered most.

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“That’s been his game all year,” Trojans head coach Clint Meyer said. “The shots weren’t falling for him in the second half, but he kept at it and made some big shots for us. He’s just a competitor and battles all game.”

He executed a perfect crossover dribble to give himself space for a long two with his toe on the 3-point line to make it a 5-point game at 50-45. And brought it within three, 50-47, on the next possession with a layup.

With 52 seconds remaining in the game, he stole an inbound pass, drove to the hoop, missed a layup with a hand in his face, grabbed his own rebound and laid it in, while drawing a foul to make it a 1-point game as he stepped to the line. He missed the free throw, 50-49.

The Scarlets ate up the clock on the ensuing possession, until Boever fouled guard Jake Makela, who missed the first shot of a one-and-one. Linder grabbed the rebound and passed to Boever who took a shot for the lead, but Mankato West guard Trey Burmeister got a piece of it and Makela scooped it up, where he was immediately fouled. He made both free throws to make it 52-49 with 2.9 seconds to go.

Logan Huisman inbounded the ball to Othow, who passed to Boever. Boever dribbled twice and unleashed a potential game-tying half-court prayer, but it missed the mark, sealing the game for the Scarlets.

“I told our guys we have nothing to be ashamed of,” Meyer said. “We played hard. We battled the whole second half to get back into that game. If we make a couple of shots, it’s probably a different outcome. We can’t hang our heads, our guys should be proud of the way they played tonight against a good Mankato West team.”

The big second-half comeback was the second of the game for the Trojans, who started the game in an 11-2 hole. They trailed 22-11, before making a 13-4 run to close the half down by only two, 26-24.

The Scarlets offense ran through Makela, who led the team with 16 points. His exceptional speed allowed him to drive to the basket and draw defenders out of the low block. And when extra defenders came out to guard him, he made excellent passes to open teammates for easy layups. He hurt his ankle early in the game but returned without any swelling and didn’t appear any worse for the wear.

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“He’s a pretty tough kid,” Meier said. “He’ll fight through injuries. It looked bad right away but nothing was swollen. We knew he was going to come back.”

Forward Dondre Spann scored 12 points for MW, while Burmeister and Dawson Frericks scored nine.

Merrigan led the Trojans with 14 points, Othow scored 13 and Linder scored 12.

The Trojans (5-4) move ahead and host Big South Conference rival Jackson County Central (6-1) on Tuesday.

Mankato West 26 52Worthington 24 49MANKATO WEST (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Makela 2-2-6-16, Spann 1-4-1-12, Burmeister 1-3-0-9, Yokeil 0-1-1-3, Frericks 1-3-0-9, Sathoff 0-1-1-3. Totals 4-14-7-52.WORTHINGTON -- Othow 1-4-2-13, Boneschans 0-1-1-3, Linder 0-6-0-12, Merrigan 0-5-4-14, Boever 0-4-0-8. Totals 1-18-7-49.

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Tim Middagh/Daily Globe Worthington's Tyler Linder (45) makes a layup against Mankato West's Michael Sathoff (50) Friday night in the Trojan Holiday Classic championship game.

Related Topics: BOYS BASKETBALL
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Tom Goehle, son of legendary coach Hugo Goehle, was once a star athlete at Hills-Beaver Creek High School. Now he gives back through coaching and his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.