Trojans boys basketball flat on senior night, lose 72-49 to Kasson-Mantorville
Ethan Lee scored 40 for the Komets.
WORTHINGTON — In a game with no implications on section tournament seeding, the Worthington Trojans boys basketball team was caught flat-footed in a 72-49 loss to Kasson-Mantorville on Friday night.
The Trojans host Jordan in the upcoming Section 2AAA tournament on Tuesday. WHS defeated the Hubmen 56-54 on Feb. 11.
The Trojans celebrated senior night, and WHS coach Clint Meyer honored graduating Mikele Walu, Abagotte Opiew, Marenono Opiew, Charles Brands, Nasim Zeidi, and Omot Okony with words pregame.
“It has been a really enjoyable season to be able to coach you guys,” said Meyer. “They come to practice every day ready to work, ready to compete, they have done everything we have asked of them as a coaching staff, they have been great role models for our underclassmen, and I think Trojans basketball is in a better spot going forward because of you six individuals.”
The Trojans starting five included Walu, the Opiews, Brands and Zeidi. Okony was the first man off the bench for WHS.
The Trojans started the game hot with Abagotte Opiew scoring a trey for the opening bucket, and Marenono Opiew forcing a steal, then Euro-stepping his way into two points.
The Trojans press defense was dialed to high, and the Komets gave up several turnovers after the inbound pass. A timeout was needed by Kasson-Mantorville head coach Nick Pocius when his team was down 17-10.
Post timeout is when the Trojans troubles began, as the Komets went on an 8-0 scoring run and took their first lead of the half on an Ethan Lee 3-pointer.
The Trojans continued their press and reclaimed the lead on a Zach Hayenga steal and breakaway layup.
Lee returned with another dagger 3-pointer to move the needle back to the Komets 27-25 on the next possession.
A lead change happened in the final 10 seconds of the first half as Marenono drained a corner 3-pointer for a score of 31-30. In the ensuing inbound, the Komets subbed Lee back onto the court, but he had his shot blocked in a rare miss on the night by the sophomore.
The Trojans would lose the lead a few possessions into the second half, as their offense cooled significantly on 3-point shots. Meanwhile, Lee remained a constant threat for the Komets, including from ridiculous depth.
“I thought we were flat the entire game. We had a nice run at the beginning of the game but after they called timeout, it just spiraled the wrong direction,” said Meyer. “There was nothing external, I don’t know what it was. We could not muster up any energy, there wasn’t any energy on the bench tonight. We got down and it felt like we were content to not be competing like we have been.”
Lee finished with 40 points on the night. He made nine treys, and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line.
Freshman Grady Babcock scored 13 points for the Komets with three treys, and senior Jake Hallstrom had eight.
The Trojans struggled from the free throw line going 8-of-19. The leading scorer for WHS was Abagotte Opiew with 14 points, including three treys. Brands scored eight, and Marenono Opiew scored six.
“It was a good senior night even though it sucks to lose,” said Nasim Zeidi. “It is very special playing with all these seniors, we have played together since we were little.”
The Trojans next game is one with high stakes. Come Tuesday, the Trojans can continue playing basketball with a victory against Jordan, or end their season through defeat.
“I hope that lightbulb goes off in the next game because it is win or go home,” said Meyer. “There was nothing I felt that I could have said tonight that would influence how we were playing. We will talk about this one tomorrow at practice and start getting ready for Jordan. There is no sense in dwelling on this one.”
The Trojans are ranked third in Section 2AAA and will hope to reap the benefit of playing at home in front of their faithful fans.
“It helps us out a lot,” said Zeidi on the importance of homecourt. “Playing at home in front of a bunch of people. We just have to play with energy, and come out and play our best 36 (minutes) and get to our game.”
Kasson Mantorville 30 72
Worthington 31 49
KASSON-MANTORVILLE (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Babcock 3-1-2-13, Smith 1-1-0-5, Thome 0-1-0-2, Briggs 0-1-2-4, Hallstrom 0-1-6-8, Lee 9-3-7-40. TOTALS 13-8-17-72.
WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Walu 0-1-0-2, A. Opiew 3-2-1-14, M. Opiew 1-1-1-6, Brands 0-3-2-8, Zeidi 0-0-1-1, Knothe 0-0-3-3, Swinea 0-2-0-4, Mulder 1-0-0-3, O. Okony 1-0-0-3. TOTALS 7-10-8-49.