Trojans basketball: Progress begins with small steps

WASECA -- Graduation hit the offenses of the Worthington Trojans girls and boys basketball teams hard in the offseason. Head coaches Eric Lindner and Clint Meyer are teaching patience, among other things, as the teams struggle to find themselves ...


WASECA - Graduation hit the offenses of the Worthington Trojans girls and boys basketball teams hard in the offseason. Head coaches Eric Lindner and Clint Meyer are teaching patience, among other things, as the teams struggle to find themselves in the early-going of the 2015-16 campaign.
The WHS girls lost their season opener 66-44 in Waseca on Saturday. On that same day the WHS boys - who were beaten in their season opener 61-45 Tuesday in Fairmont - lost Game Two 77-56 to host Waseca.
It’s not going to get any easier for the Trojans, at least over the next several days. The boys host a solid Windom Area team on Friday. The girls will have four consecutive home games coming up against more good competition - Fairmont on Tuesday, Southwest Christian on Thursday, Windom Area on Friday and Marshall on Dec. 10.
Waseca 66, WHS 44
In his preseason analysis, Lindner said the Trojans will be hard-pressed to replace the scoring that graduated. It may take some time, too.
“Our goal is to get better at this. And it’s not going to look good at times,” Lindner said on Sunday.
The Bluejays, who posted a glittering 23-6 record in 2014-15, made 11 three-point field goals against the Trojans. Worthington, on the other hand, attempted only two, not making any. The Trojans also shot less than 50 percent at the free throw line, converting 12 of 26.
“We just don’t have a lot of confidence right now in that (three-point shooting),” Lindner said. “And that’s something we’re going to build on.”
Worthington had just one player score in double figures against Waseca. Junior forward Emily Shaffer tallied 10 points. Emma Thuringer scored nine and Ahmitara Alwal eight.
Madison Gehloff scored 17 points to lead Waseca.
The Trojans played zone defense throughout, with the idea of stopping the Bluejays’ penetration. The visitors weren’t quick enough to get out to harass the home team’s three-point shooters, however.
The Jays converted more than half of their long-range jumpers.
“It was pretty rough. When a team hits eleven threes, you took that gamble and you lost on that day,” Lindner said.
Despite Waseca’s offensive accuracy, the Trojans elected to stay in their zone. Lindner decided that, at this early stage of the season, his team needs to work on rotating and trusting each other.
Lindner said the Trojans did do some good things with their defense on Saturday, but they weren’t able to generate layup baskets from their turnovers.
Worthington 30 44
Waseca 38 66
WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - Alwal 0-2-4-8, Thuringer 0-4-1-9, Bruns 0-1-3-5, Gerber 0-2-0-4, Woll 0-1-0-2, Weg 0-2-0-4, Mulder 0-1-0-2, Shaffer 0-3-4-10. Totals 0-16-12-44.
WASECA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - Boyer 2-0-0-6, Karsten 2-2-0-10, Gehloff 3-4-1-17, Hiller 1-0-1-4, Potter 0-1-1-3, Breck 3-1-0-11, highum 0-2-2-6. Totals 11-14-5-66.

Waseca 77, WHS 56
The Bluejays got off to a good start and Worthington was never able to make a comparable run.
Leading 38-22 at halftime, Waseca held on to drop the Trojans to 0-2.
“They only outscored us by five in the second half. We’ve gotta figure out how to get off to some better starts,” said Meyer.
Both teams made five three-point shots. But Waseca meshed 27 two-point shots to Worthington’s 16 and made eight of 14 free throws to the Trojans’ six of 17.
Nick Dufault, Waseca’s fine senior guard, concentrated on setting up his teammates early in the contest. Then he turned his attention to the basket, finishing with a game-high 30 points.
Jake Guse and Kaleb Nelson added 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Worthington, which turned the ball over only five times in the game, was led offensively by sophomore forward Logan Huisman, with 14 points. OD Othow and Zach Boever both scored eight points. Tyler Linder had eight rebounds.
Meyer credited Huisman with playing a good all-around game. “He looked like he belonged out there as a sophomore,” he said.
But the Bluejays were clearly the better offensive team. Their size (they start players who are 6-8 and 6-6 and bring a 6-6 player off the bench) bothered the Trojans, forcing the visitors to rush some of their shots.
Worthington hit only 29 percent of its field goals in the Fairmont game, and although the percentages weren’t available yet from the Waseca game, Meyer said Sunday, “I don’t think yesterday was much better than that.”
“I think we’re getting good looks when we’re showing patience on offense,” said the WHS skipper. “And now it’s about knocking down some shots.”
Worthington 22 56
Waseca 38 77
WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - ODOthow 2-1-0-8, Ochothow 1-0-0-3, Boever 0-3-2-8, Braaksma 0-2-1-5, Van Hove 1-1-1-6, Huisman 1-5-1-14, Merrigan 0-2-0-4, Sorenseon 1-0-0-3, Linder 0-2-1-5. Totals 5-16-6-56
WASECA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - Willingham 1-1-0-5, Streich 0-1-0-2, Schumacher 0-1-0-2, Dufault 3-9-3-30, Nelson 1-6-0-15, Carter 0-3-0-6, Guse 0-6-5-17. Totals 5-27-8-77.


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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