WHS girls basketball team gets back on winning track

Worthington Trojans

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington girls basketball leaders Maya Scheitel-Taylor and Sophie Wietzema combined for just six points Friday night in a deflating one-point loss to Luverne.

But the disappointment didn’t linger.

“There’s no negativity around here,” said Wietzema, a junior center who had 14 points and 14 rebounds Saturday afternoon as the Trojans knocked off the Albert Lea Tigers 74-64 in a non-conference game at the WHS gymnasium. “We have some nights when we’re a little off. But we’re all pretty good friends and teammates. We’re working hard to get better and I think we have a lot of potential.”

Senior sniper Scheitel-Taylor drilled four 3-pointers and scored 19 points, superb sophomore Olivia Hayenga poured in 18 off the bench and senior point guard Payton Sauerbrei added 13 as the Trojans improved to 5-3 and erased any hangover from Friday night’s 64-63 loss to Big South West foe Luverne.


“We got some good things done,” said Trojans’ coach Eric Lindner. “It’s just finding consistency that’s been the issue.

“We caused a lot of problems for them and we rebounded better. We were more in control. I liked how we were able to get the ball inside more and Sophie played a pretty good ballgame.”

Scheitel-Taylor drained three treys and scored 11 points as Worthington built a 28-22 halftime lead.

“I liked Maya’s shots. They were more in rhythm,” Lindner said of his smooth-shooting standout. “And our defense was rotating much better (than Friday night). It was a good day.”

Big Nine Conference foe Albert Lea fell to 5-5. The Tigers of coach Jason Thompson start three sophomores, including 5-10 star Taya Jeffrey, who is averaging better than 18 points per game.

Jeffrey had nine points barely five minutes into the game as the Tigers and Trojans battled on even terms. But she also picked up two early fouls and went to the bench for the remainder of the half.

“The foul situation hurt in the first half,” Thompson. “It was a coaching decision (to sit her until after halftime).”

Albert Lea led only once in the game, at 14-13, but WHS was unable to pull away in the opening half. Worthington’s Tarren Spartz hustled for several offensive rebounds and made two free throws in the final second as the Trojans took a six-point halftime lead.


Worthington opened the second half on a 9-0 run to build the bulge to double digits. Wietzema started the flurry with a free throw, then Scheitel-Taylor converted a conventional three-point play and the next trip down swished a 3-pointer.

Hayenga scored 14 second-half points and Sauerbrei drained six free throws in the closing minutes.

The Worthington defense forced 28 Albert Lea turnovers, including 16 in the first half. The Tigers cut the deficit to 10 in the waning moments but got no closer. Jeffrey finished with 23 points and senior guard Sam Skarstad added 20.

“We did fight to the end but we just had too many turnovers the first half,” Thompson said. “(The Trojans) did a good job of being physical with us and they crashed the offensive boards real well.”

The Worthington girls will be back at the Trojan gymnasium Tuesday night to meet New Ulm.

Albert Lea 22 64

Worthington 28 74


ALBERT LEA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - Morgan Luhring 1-0-0-3, Jeffrey 2-5-7-23, Juveland 0-1-0-2, Espinosa 2-2-4-14, Mallory Luhring 0-1-0-2, Skarstad 1-5-7-20. Totals: 6-14-18-64.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor 0-1-2-4, Bauman 0-1-0-2, Huisman 0-1-0-2, Sauerbrei 0-3-7-13, Hayenga 4-1-5-18, Spartz 0-0-2-2, Maya Scheitel-Taylor 4-1-5-19, Wietzema 0-6-2-14. Totals: 5-19-21-74.

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