Worthington prep roundup: Ojulu goes wild, Trojans rout Windom Area 111-51
BY AARON HAGEN
Most of the Worthington High School athletic teams were road warriors Thursday night.
While the gymnastics team had a home meet, both of the basketball teams played in Windom. So did both of the hockey teams. And the wrestling team wrestled Windom Area and Luverne at Luverne.
But there was one thing that stood out -- Karasharo Ojulu scored a record number of points in a 111-51 boys basketball domination of Windom Area.Boys BasketballWorthington 111, Windom Area 51
WINDOM -- It was a special night for Karasharo Ojulu.
A senior for Worthington, Ojulu scored a school-record 45 points to lead the Trojans to a season-opening victory.
“Just early, everything he was throwing up was going in,” WHS head coach Clint Meyer said. “It was within the offense and it was good rhythm shots, he wasn’t forcing the action. He was getting good looks and everything was going down for him. He ran the floor really well in transition and was getting buckets there as well. It was exciting to see. Getting the school record is pretty special.”
Terbuto Ochothow scored 30 points for the Trojans. He added five assists and four rebounds.
Ojulu broke the record of Troy Timmons, who set the previous mark in 1991.
“At one point I looked at the scoreboard and he had 28 and there was still over half of the first half to go,” Meyer said. “It kind of overshadowed Turbo’s 30. I didn’t realize he scored as many as he did. It was one of the quietest 30-point games I can remember. The crowd was rooting for Karasharo, they must have known he was getting close to the record.”
Worthington jumped out to a big lead early and built a 74-24 advantage at halftime.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with the effort we came out with right away,” Meyer said. “We got out and pressured like we wanted to and we converted turnovers into easy points. With Karasharo shooting the way he did, he couldn’t do no wrong in the first half. Everything was going our way early.”
Ojulu was efficient in reaching his total. He was 17-for-21 shooting in the game, including 8-for-11 from 3. The Trojans made 14 of 24 from 3 in the game.
“We just got out so quickly in transition off of turnovers, we were getting easy buckets in transition,” Meyer said. “We had a lot of 3s early on. Turbo and Karasharo were both shooting from deep and shots were falling. Everybody was feeling good, so our defensive intensity fed off our success on the offensive end. They didn’t let up.”
Will Brandner added eight points and Brock Bruns scored seven for the Trojans.
Windom Area was led by Eric Pfeffer’s 14 points.
The Trojans (1-0) face New Ulm on Saturday. Despite the strong start, Meyer said there are still areas to improve this season.
“I think offensively we have still have a ways to go,” the coach said. “We put in a new offensive system this year. We had a lot of transition opportunities tonight, so we didn’t necessarily get to see what our half-court offense is going to look like. We still have plenty of things to work on.”Worthington 74 111Windom Area 24 51Girls BasketballWorthington 85, Windom Area 65
WINDOM -- Worthington jumped out to an early lead and held off Windom Area for a 20-point victory.
“We were up by almost 25 in the first half,” WHS head coach Eric Lindner said. “We took off the pressure thinking we could play some half-court defense. We let them get back into it and fouled and put them at the free throw line without the clock running. It got within 10 and stayed that way for a majority of the second half. I think the last four minutes we opened it up again to 20.”
The Trojans, which improve to 2-1 this season, had four players score in double figures.
“That’s the same balance that we need,” Lindner said.
Evelyn Othow and Madisyn Huisman each scored 19 points to lead the Trojans. Othow added eight rebounds, while Huisman had six assists. Maya Scheitel-Taylor scored 14 points, while Payton Sauerbrei had 10 points. Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor finished with eight points, seven steals and five assists, while Sophie Wietzema had seven points and six rebounds.
“Luckily we got some production from our inside kids,” Lindner said. “In the first half, our shots were falling. In the second half, we were a bit more aggressive. We only went to the free throw line six times in the first half and in the second half, we got all our free throws. We were more aggressive to the basket.”
The Eagles were led by Allison Letcher’s 19 points. Autumn Hauge added 15 points for Windom.
WHS, which led 46-35 at halftime, faces Waseca in Saturday’s Big South Conference showcase.
“We’re going to have to do a very good job of slowing down tempo and playing good defense on them,” Lindner said.Worthington 46 85Windom Area 35 65Girls HockeyWindom Area 4, Worthington 2
WINDOM -- Anna Volk scored two third-period goals to break a 2-2 tie as Windom Area defeated Worthington.
Worthington scored first before the Eagles answered with two. The Trojans tied the game at 2-all heading into the third period. However, WHS, which was coming off its first win of the season, didn’t have an answer for Volk.
“We thought they were going to come out strong in the third period, but our girls came out flat,” WHS head coach Chad Nickel said. “They didn’t come out in the third period to play. We were surprised coming off that win. To have an outcome like this just isn’t what we were expecting as a coaching staff.”
Worthington’s first goal was scored by eighth-grader Lauren Nelson. It was her first career varsity goal. Ashton Fogelman had the assist.
“She skated as fast as she could to get a rebound and pounded it in,” Nickel said. “It was good to see her get that.”
Marissa Becker scored Windom Area’s first goal, with an assist from Ellyson Bang. Katrina LaCanne scored with Abagail Turner assisting as the Eagles led 2-1.
However, Worthington’s Makenna Nickel scored (assist from Kory Nickel) to tie the game heading into the third period.
But Volk scored twice, with Bang picking up an assist, to lead the Eagles to victory.
“We had quite a few shots on goal tonight, but we were missing some good opportunities to put it in the net,” Coach Nickel said.Worthington 1 1 0 -- 2Windom Area 0 2 2 -- 4Boys HockeyWindom Area 3, Worthington 2
WINDOM -- Worthington had an early lead, but a third-period goal from Keaton Storm gave Windom Area the victory.
“We had a lot of chances,” WHS head coach Tyler Nienkerk said. “We didn’t connect on ours. We had a lot of breaks. We just didn’t connect on them. I think the shots on goal don’t quite tell the story of the game. I thought we dictated a decent amount of the game.”
The Trojans were outshot 45-21. Preston Thavixay made 42 saves.
“It was a tough one for the boys,” Nienkerk said. “They battled very hard. That’s the kind of effort we’re going to have to bring every game to be successful. We’ll be ready to bring it tomorrow.”
Worthington took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Traeton Holt.
After WA tied the game with a power-play goal from Vincent Vongsy (Kyle Espenson and Eli Becker assists), the Trojans took back the lead.
Ryan Newman scored with an assist from Lance Hibma as WHS led 2-1 after the first period.
“We’re not much for moral victories, but the way the first couple games went, we’re glad to see this kind of effort,” Nienkerk said. “The difference is that Preston has played much better as we’ve got going. That’s going to be a key for us, to have strong goaltending. Hopefully he’s rounding into form and can keep us in these games.”
Windom Area tied the game in the second on a goal from Kaleb Lecanne (Austin Fredin assist).
Storm scored the game winner in the third with Vongsy assisting.
WHS has its home opener on Friday against Breckenridge-Wahpaton.Worthington 2 0 0 -- 2Windom Area 1 1 1 -- 3WrestlingLuverne Triangular
LUVERNE -- Happy for their first chance to wrestle real competition, the Trojans edged Windom/Mountain Lake in a 35-32 thriller, then romped over Luverne 64-6.
The Trojans and the Eagles were deadlocked 32-32 when heavyweights Kyle Mullaney of Worthington and Eli Mutz of Windom/Mountain Lake stepped onto the mat. Mullaney gave up about 40 pounds in weight, but he wrestled a smart match to come away an 8-3 victor.
“He didn’t let that big heavyweight push him around. Kyle held his position really well,” said first-year WHS head coach Ben DeRynck.
Worthington got on-mat victories from Ivan Martinez (113), Zaydan Abdulrahman (120), Eric Artiga (126), Brayden Donkersloot (170) and Jacob Neuberger (195) as well as Mullaney. Ariga scored a technical fall in his match, Donkersloot won by fall in 3:10, and Neuberger did the same in the third period of his bout.
Windom/Mountain Lake, strong in the middle weights, did well there. State tournament place-winner Brett Willaby won by fall at 138, Trenton Renquest (145) and Zach Spinks (152) prevailed by decisions, and 132-pounder Kade Sammons won 12-2 over strong Trojan rival Damon Schutz.
“I think we did very well,” DeRynck summed up the matches. “The guys who needed to win won. The guys who needed to win big won big. The guys who had to do damage control did their jobs.”
Against Luverne, Trojan 106-pounder Oscar Galvez won by fall. Pins were also turned in by Trojans Oliver Ortiz at 120, Ariga at 126, Schutz at 132, Lay K Paw at 138, Jaden Hennings at 152 and Hunter Cam at 285.
In the other match, Windom/Mountain Lake topped Luverne 57-12. Pins were recorded by Cobras Hunter Ekstrom (126), Sammons (132), Willaby (138), Esteban Sandoval (152), Alex Borsgard (160) and Mutz (285).