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Trojan boys outlast Luverne for 82-77 hoops win

The Worthington Trojans boys basketball team fought off a strong challenge from the Luverne Cardinals and earned a home victory on Senior Night, 82-77, on Thursday.


The Trojans, now 12-10, jumped out to an early 19-5 advantage, but the Cardinals rallied and went into the locker room trailing by just four, 38-34, at the half. Worthington then went up by 11 early in the second before Luverne stormed back again and took a slim one-point edge.


The teams went back and forth through the final stages of the second half. Andrew Mulder hit a big 3-pointer to put the Trojans up 69-67 and, after the Cardinals re-tied the score, Kaleb Knothe nailed a 3 of his own. Later, with Luverne ahead by one, Zach Hayenga connected from deep to make it 78-76 Trojans with 36.2 seconds remaining. Hayenga added two free throws and Mulder hit another free throw to help WHS close things out.


Hayenga and Mulder each had 17 points for Worthington, while Jacari Swinea added 15 and Knothe 14. For the Cardinals, who are 9-12, Carter Sehr had 25 points and Gavin DeBeer 18.




The Trojan girls started strongly on the road Thursday night at Luverne, building a 22-point halftime lead on their way to a 65-44 triumph.


Maddie Beckmann was on fire from long range in the first half, making five of six 3-point field goal attempts. Beckmann finished with 22 points and New Gora had 15 as Worthington improved to 6-17 this winter. The Cardinals are 8-14.




Minnesota West will have a new head football coach this coming fall.


The Bluejays on Thursday announced that Jermaine Smith, most recently defensive analyst for Campbell University in North Carolina and previously a defensive coordinator with Fort Lewis College, will take over the Bluejay football program. Smith also served as defensive coordinator/player personnel director for the Charlotte Thunder of the American Arena Football League from 2018-2020.


Smith will be in Worthington next Thursday to meet with Bluejays players and college staff. He’ll take the head coaching job in place of Connor Kunkel, who led the program during the 2023 season.




Windom Area’s Landon Pillatzki scored the game-winning goal with 2:32 left in overtime Thursday night as the Eagles topped the Trojans 8-7 at the Worthington Ice Arena.


Seven goals were scored in a wild first period that ended with Worthington up 4-3. Caden Van Briesen scored twice in the period for the Trojans, and Dominic Pavelko and Easton Newman had the other goals. Windom’s Sonny Heil also scored twice in the first and ended up with a hat trick for the game.


The Eagles outscored the Trojans 3-0 in the second, but WHS got three consecutive goals from Van Briesen, Spenser Nickel and Pavelko to start the third period for a 7-6 Trojan lead. Heil got his third goal of the night with 3:08 left in regulation to send things into OT.


Worthington put 44 shots on goal in the game compared to Windom’s 31.




Sectional wrestling results remained unavailable as of late Thursday night.



In area girls basketball Thursday night, it was:


Southwest Minnesota Christian 54, Westbrook-Walnut Grove 52

Adrian-Ellsworth 75, Red Rock Central 24

Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 68, Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda 36

Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s 63, Martin County West 52

GHEC-T-ML 75, Windom 63

Yellow Medicine East 51, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 46

Hills-Beaver Creek 57, Mountain Lake Area-Comfrey 38

Edgerton 50, Murray County Central 28

Jackson County Central 74, St. Clair 63

Sioux Falls Jefferson 43, Marshall 41


In area boys basketball:


Redwood Valley 76, Fairmont 63

West Lyon 86, Cherokee 49

Spirit Lake 49, Lawton-Bronson 46


In area boys hockey:


Luverne 6, La Crescent-Hokah 2


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