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Trojan rally falls short as New Ulm claims Big South title

The Worthington Trojans stormed back from a 19-point second half deficit Monday night but couldn’t overcome a huge evening from New Ulm standout Colton Benson as the host Eagles edged the Trojans 93-87 to capture the Big South Conference boys basketball title.

Benson scored 18 points in the first half and poured in 25 more in the second half for a total of 43 points. Worthington’s Jacari Swinea led his team offensively with 22 points and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career during the first half, but it was New Ulm holding off a furious late Trojan rally to emerge with the victory.

The Eagles led 49-36 at the half and, after WHS was able cut the deficit to nine, surged to a 15-point advantage and forced a Trojan timeout with 10:20 to go. A 3-pointer from Benson soon afterward made it 73-54 New Ulm, but Worthington didn’t quit.

Swinea’s steal and subsequent layup made the score 85-76 with 1:23 left, and the Trojans came up with a pair of quick steals they converted into baskets to close to within 85-80 with 55.5 seconds remaining. That was as close as WHS would get; Kaleb Knothe drove for a layup to make it 89-84 with 15.7 seconds to go but the Eagles then clinched the game with free throws.

Zach Hayenga added 19 points for the Trojans, while Knothe had 16 and Permeye Okony 13. James Osborne contributed 17 points for New Ulm, while Will Fossen had 12 and Nathan Firle 11.

The Trojans now await the pairings for the Section 2AAA boys basketball tournament.


In area boys basketball Monday night, it was:


Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 83, Hills-Beaver Creek 65

Edgerton 48, Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda 43

Southwest Minnesota Christian 68, Murray County Central 59

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 95, Wabasso 51

Mountain Lake Area-Comfrey 74, Adrian-Ellsworth 57

Red Rock Central 49, Westbrook-Walnut Grove 43


In area girls basketball:


Martin County West 58, United South Central 33

Springfield 75, Mountain Lake Area-Comfrey 58

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