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Trojans hang tough, edge S-O in OT in girls basketball opener

It was a wild game of steep hills and low valleys, filled with runs and counter-runs, some heroics and even a few ill-timed unfortunate mishaps. But in overtime, the Worthington Trojans girls basketball team prevailed over the Sibley-Ocheyedan Generals 67-63 at Minnesota West Community and Technical College Saturday afternoon in its season opener.

WORTHINGTON -- It was a wild game of steep hills and low valleys, filled with runs and counter-runs, some heroics and even a few ill-timed unfortunate mishaps. But in overtime, the Worthington Trojans girls basketball team prevailed over the Sibley-Ocheyedan Generals 67-63 at Minnesota West Community and Technical College Saturday afternoon in its season opener. And the biggest thing that WHS head coach Eric Lindner took from the contest was his team’s uncompromising effort.

“The kids hung. They got heart,” he said.

With 20.1 seconds remaining in regulation, Worthington ’s Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor converted one of two free throws to pull her team into a 56-56 tie. That’s how the fourth quarter ended.

112721 N DG Worthington Trojans girls Basketball vs Sibley - Ocheyedan Generals S3.jpg
Sibley-Ocheyedan Generals Madison Brouwer (33) leaps between Worthington Trojans Dasia Potter (22) and Brooklyn Schietel-Taylor (1) to score during a Saturday afternoon game at the 1st Annual Thanksgiving Classic at Minnesota West. Tim Middagh / The Globe

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In overtime, Worthington scored six of the first eight points for a 62-58 lead. An Ellie Weg turnaround jumper near the basket gave WHS a 65-60 advantage, and that was too much for the Generals to overcome. Exactly one minute remained when senior Olivia Hayenga made one of two free throws for a 66-60 advantage. When Kamryn Spartz made one of her two free throws with 9.3 seconds left, it was 67-63 and all but over.

In what was billed as the first annual Thanksgiving Classic at West, the first game of the day was memorable as well. In the 2 p.m. contest between Windom Area and Hills-Beaver Creek high schools, Windom Area freshman Hadley Sammons finished with 32 points in a 60-49 Eagles win. Sammons had 26 points at halftime, which was three more than the Patriots team scored.

But for sheer drama, the Trojans-Generals matchup took the cake.

In the beginning, it was all Sibley-Ocheyedan, as the northwest Iowa team scored the first 14 points of the game. The Trojans looked, in fact, like they hadn’t emerged from the locker room yet, and one of their key players, Scheitel-Taylor, was whistled for her second foul with 17:07 remaining in the half.

Suddenly, however, the Worthingtonians caught fire. Senior guard Dasia Potter and Hayenga made key 3-point shots. At the 4:02 mark, Weg made a layup to give the Trojans a 26-25 lead, and the points continued to flow. After trailing 14-0, Worthington finished the half by outscoring Sibley-Ocheyedan 37-15 the rest of the way.

The Trojans began the second half strong, too, scoring six straight for a 43-29 lead. The lead became 15 points soon after, but the plucky Generals fought back -- hard.

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Part of the problem for Worthington was that Hayenga -- who finished with a team-high 18 points and four assists -- injured her left non-shooting hand midway through the second half. After a short rest, she returned and played almost every remaining minute. But her hand was largely unusable the rest of the way.

Thus, Scheitel-Taylor’s ball-handling and passing skills became even more crucial to the Trojans’ efforts. Scheitel-Taylor, who is one of those players whose excellence doesn’t always show up in the box score, performed at a high level. Though her free throw shooting suffered, she finished with 11 points and a game-high six assists.

There were other gutty performances as well. Lindner praised both players and also singled out Potter for making big shots when the Trojans were struggling. Weg, he said, was strong on the boards, and indeed, she finished with 13 rebounds.

“The thing that I was impressed with was, we came back after they just laid the wood to us early,” said Lindner.

Sibley-Ocheyedan received another big performance from its outstanding 6-1 junior forward, Madison Brouwer, who scored 36 points, but it might have been more. She was 15-for-36 from the field, but she made just five of 15 free throw attempts.

Junior guard Bria Wasmund was, as she always is, a dynamo as a floor leader. She scored 15 points in all, and had five assists.

The game was Sibley-Ocheyedan’s second of the season. The Generals, who like WHS are expected to win a lot of games this year, are now 1-1.

“It’s probably too big a game to start the season with, for both teams,” said S-O head coach Steve Kellen. “I think both teams did some great things, and did some things that weren’t great. We went on a run to start the game, and they went on a run at the end of the first half. We were really dead in the water. … You look back on would-a, could-a, should-a.”

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Worthington was scheduled to go on the road Tuesday (Nov. 30) to play Spirit Lake.

Worthington 37 56 67

Sibley-Ocheyedan 29 56 63

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Scheitel-Taylor 0-4-3-11, K.Spartz 0-1-1-3, Hayenga 1-6-3-18, T.Spartz 1-2-0-7, Weg 0-1-1-11, Beckmann 0-2-0-4, Potter 3-2-0-13, Bickett 0-0-0-0, Lowe 0-0-0-0. Totals 5-22-8-67.

SIBLEY-OCHEYEDAN (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Wasmund 0-5-5-15, Richardson 0-0-0-0, M.Ackerman 0-1-5-7, Elser 1-0-0-3, Brouwer 1-14-5-36, Z.Ackerman 0-0-0-0, Hensch 0-0-0-0, Bos 0-1-0-2. Totals 2-21-15-63.

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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