WINDOM - Marcus Potter swished a 3-pointer from the left wing in front of the Worthington student section as the buzzer sounded to help the No. 3-seeded Trojans edge the No. 2-seeded Martin County West Mavericks, 62-59, in the Section 3AA, South Sub-Section basketball semifinals on Thursday night in Windom.
The defending Section 3AA champion Trojans (17-8) advance to face the No. 1-seeded Fairmont Cardinals (22-5) in the sub-section final at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall at 8 p.m. Saturday night.
The Cardinals advanced by beating the No. 4-seeded Jackson County Central Huskies, 65-56, in the other South Sub-Section semifinal on Thursday in Windom
MID-AIR MANEUVER — Martin County West’s Austin Krumwiede (23) maneuvers in mid-air to get a shot past Worthington’s Marcus Potter (left) and Morgan Traylor (41) during Section 3AA, South Sub-Section semifinal basketball action Thursday night in Windom. Photo by Leanna Becker
The Mavericks ended the season with a 20-6 record.
Senior 6-foot-6 center Morgan Traylor made his only steal of the game as the clock wound down the final seconds on a Mavericks inbounds pass. Traylor quickly got the ball up court to Potter, who spotted up and drained the game-winning shot for three of his 10 points for the Trojans.
Trailing by 14 at halftime, the Trojans came out in the second half and went on a 10-2 scoring run to cut the Mavericks' lead to six.
"We knew that they would try to do the matchup zone coming in, but we tried to do different things in attacking it," said Worthington head coach Ron Vorwald. "Our guys just kept fighting and we found a way to get the last shot."
Traylor, who scored just six points in the first half, rattled off three straight baskets on his way to a team-leading 17 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Traylor powered up through two Maverick defenders on his third basket, drawing the foul and sinking the free throw for a three-point play to make it 39-30 just a little more than 4 minutes into the second half.
Potter's first 3 of the night a minute later helped the Trojans get within six of the Mavericks.
Martin County West senior Austin Krumwiede put an end to Worthington's scoring run with his own three-point play.
Krumwiede drove hard to the basket, drawing the foul and making the shot before swishing the free throw, for three of his game-high 20 points to go along with his nine rebounds to make it 43-36.
"We needed to do a better job of getting out and guarding their players. They are a good basketball team and they are well-coached and were making all their shots," said Vorwald.
The Trojans responded on their end with a trifecta from Spencer Grafing before Krumwiede motored down the length of the court for the lay-in to make it 45-36 at the 9:30 mark.
Josh Vander Veen provided some critical shots down the stretch for the Trojans, delivering a pair of 3s from the left side to help Worthington keep within striking distance.
Jon Worwald drew the Trojans even on the scoreboard by connecting on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 30 seconds remaining in the game to make it 59-59.
The Mavericks jumped on the Trojans early in the game, going 16-for-29 shooting from the floor in the first half to generate the double-digit edge.
"We wanted to do our best to stop Cordell Weber, and Krumwiede. But they're a talented and athletic team," said Vorwald. "I'm just glad our guys hung in there and kept fighting."
Mitch Sitzmann pocketed one of his two steals in the game and turned it into a layup at the 9:53 juncture to make it 16-8 in Martin County West's favor.
Cordell Weber added 11 points for Martin County West, along with grabbing six rebounds.
Jake Faber and Kyle Brolsma scored 10 points each for the Mavericks.
Brolsma and Krumwiede led Martin County West's 32-16 rebounding edge with nine each, while Faber grabbed seven.
Vander Veen finished with 10 points for the Trojans.