Windom Area goes against history, beats Trojans in girls basketball

Outstanding outside shooting helped the Eagles beat Worthington in Worthington, 82-68


WORTHINGTON -- Still wary of a Worthington High School girls basketball program that had given Windom fits over the years, Eagles head coach Jacob Johnson formulated a plan Saturday night he hoped would neutralize the Trojans’ height advantage.

The goal, he said, was to “take away the inside game, try to force turnovers before half-court.”

It worked well enough to help Windom Area to an 82-68 win at the Worthington High School gymnasium. Of course, it didn’t hurt matters that three top Worthington players -- Ellie Weg, Madison Beckmann and Karissa Bickett -- were sidelined for injuries. Historically, the Eagles don’t beat the Trojans often.

“I was happy with the way we played. Worthington’s traditionally been a team that’s had our number. Some of their girls are hurt, but Coach (Jessica) Hogan does a real good job with them. They gave us everything we could handle tonight. I’m happy with the way we were able to speed up the game with our pressure,” Johnson said.

Windom Area began to open up a lead late in the first half aided by 3-point shots. Freshman guard Alivia Letcher drained a 3-pointer with 4:07 to go for a 35-28 WAHS advantage, then hit another one at 3:18 for 39-28. Teammate Hannah Dauer hit another 3 at 2:43 and it was 44-32. Dauer hit yet another one at 1:41 to make the score 47-32.


Members Only
"There are years where you have a lot of talent, and there are years where you have great kids and good team chemistry. But when they collide – we are here today and we have a trophy like that."
Meanwhile, last year’s point guard Ta’Lon Cooper heads to South Carolina
Members Only
Marenono Opiew was a key factor on a deep Trojans basketball squad. His work ethic and attitude helped guide WHS to a memorable season.

In all, the Eagles converted 13 3-point shots in the game compared to Worthington’s six.

They also got very balanced scoring. Freshman Haidyn Sammons scored 17 points, Letcher scored 17, sophomore Hadley Sammons tallied 16, sophomore Dauer 15 and freshman Anja Nielsen 15.

With this many fine-shooting underclassmen, the Eagles figure to be dangerous for a few more years. With the win, they improved their 2022-23 record to 11-8 while dropping Worthington to 4-15.

Saturday’s game was a winter-storm make-up, and the Trojans performed better than they did just one night earlier in an 88-38 loss to New Ulm. They got a solid all-around game from 5-11 senior Tarren Spartz, who finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Another of the Trojans’ inside threats, 6-0 junior Janessa Hamann, also played a strong inside game with 20 points and nine rebounds.

Spartz worried Johnson, said the WAHS mentor.

“No Weg, but Spartz has been a thorn in our side for four years,” he said.

Windom Area led 48-32 at halftime, but the Trojans fought hard to trim the deficit. With 10:43 to go in the game, Pham Gora converted a 3-point shot that brought the Trojans within 55-46. But from there, the Eagles reasserted control.

“They’re a hard team to stop in transition,” said Hogan, who praised her squad for “doing some good things inside” and for occasionally breaking through the quicker Eagles’ defensive pressure.


Windom Area 48 82

Worthington 32 68

WINDOM AREA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Haidyn Sammons 1-5-4-17, Hadley Sammons 0-7-2-16, Maras 0-1-0-2, Dauer 2-3-3-15, Nielsen 4-0-0-12, Letcher 5-2-0-17, Berduo 1-0-0-3. Totals 13-18-9-82.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- J.Spartz 0-1-0-2, N.Gora 0-2-0-4, T.Spartz 2-6-2-20, P.Gora 3-2-0-13, Hamann 0-9-2-20, Barber 1-0-2-5, Zeidi 0-2-0-4. Totals 6-22-6-68.

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
What To Read Next
Get Local