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SWC beats Worthington 74-48 after second-half surge

Feb. 13—WORTHINGTON — The Worthington High School girls basketball team hung tough with the Southwest Minnesota Christian Eagles throughout the first half Tuesday night.

The Trojans (5-17) made things a bit difficult for the Eagles (21-2) in the first half as the lead changed hands multiple times and neither team built more than a four-point lead.

That trend continued partway through the second half, but SWC quickly began pulling away in the game's final 10 minutes to walk away with a 74-48 win.

Despite what that final score might indicate, a majority of the game was a battle and it was evident early on. After a scoreless first couple of minutes, the Eagles eventually scored the game's first four points on inside shots from Ana Veldkamp and Madyson Fey.

The Trojans quickly tied the game on an inside dime from Regan Schaefer to Janessa Hamann and then a crossover and layup from New Gora. Early in the half, Worthington's defense proved to be effective as it forced consecutive SWC turnovers that led to transition buckets.

The Trojans took their first lead at 8-6 on a trey from Pham Gora and that was followed by a transition layup from New Gora. The Eagles then went on an 8-0 run, with five of those points scored from Veldkamp, to grab the lead right back at 13-10. A game-tying three from Madiaon Beckmann tied the game for WHS and from there, the rest of the first half continued to be back and forth. It was a half that saw five lead changes and nine ties.

In the final seconds of the half with the game tied, Myah Vander Maten hit a trey before New Gora hit a contested inside layup at the buzzer to make the halftime score 31-30 in favor of the Eagles.

The second half began similarly to the first, with neither team scoring for nearly two minutes. With 16:29 left, a 3-pointer from Fey opened up a 9-2 run and a seven-point lead for the Eagles. That would be one of six treys Fey would make in the game.

Five-straight points from the Tojans brought them back to within two points, but Fey hit another three to end that mini run. She made yet another one on SWC's next possession, which started a 12-0 run and the team's first double-digit lead.

Once the Eagles took that 55-39 lead after that run, the Trojans again scored five-straight points to cut the lead to 11 points. That was the closest they would get though as Fey again answered with a 3-pointer. From there, the Eagles outscored the Trojans 19-4 for the remainder of the game.

Fey wound up leading all scorers with 26 points and she also grabbed seven rebounds. Veldkamp scored 20 points and Jocelyn Barron added 13. Makenzie Pap grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the team.

For Worthington, the Gora twins each scored 11 points to lead their team. Beckmann scored eight points, Schaefer and Hamann each added seven, Grace Barber had three and Jayden Spartz one.

The Trojans will be in Luverne Thursday for a Big South Conference rematch. The Cardinals won the first game on Jan. 9 in Worthington 60-51. After that, WHS will have three more games on the schedule in the regular season. The Eagles host Westbrook-Walnut Grove Thursday in a big game between the top two teams in the Red Rock Conference.

Southwest Christian 31 43 — 74

Worthington 30 18 — 48