WHS basketball teams hit the wall as the new year begins – The Globe

WORTHINGTON — It’s the start of a brand new year, but Worthington High School’s basketball teams seem stuck in the doldrums.

The girls’ and boys’ teams lost to Western Christian of Iowa on Tuesday night at the WHS gymnasium. For the girls, their 76-63 loss was their third in a row and fourth in their last five games, taking them to 6-4 this season. The boys faced a tougher foe, a Wolfpack team that won an Iowa State Championship last year, and the visitors looked like they could win another in 2022 as they outscored 94-44.

Sure, the WHS boys (now 1-6) had their hands full against Western, but head coach CJ Nelson still wasn’t happy with the Trojans’ performance. Despite an impressive performance by rookie Jacari Swinea, the team committed 35 turnovers.

“Today we took a step back, I think,” he said. “We have to regroup, we have to find a way to compete.”

The West Girls came into Tuesday’s game 2-6 but played overweight as the Trojans made plenty of mistakes despite scoring well on the inside during most of the route.

“We put the ball inside as we wanted. We have partitions inside. But we had too many turnovers. And we got beat (in defense),” head coach Eric Lindner said.


Western Christian 76, Worthington 63

Worthington led 9-2 early in the game as four of his players reached the scoring column. Posts Tarren Spartz and Ellie Weg were particularly strong inside, with Spartz scoring 16 points in the first half and Weg adding seven.

But the Wolfpack, trailing 37-33 at halftime, scored the first five points of the second half and led 65-56 with 3:45 to go. Trojans have never caught fire.

“I don’t understand the difference between now and the start of the season,” said Lindner, whose side started the 2021-22 campaign with five straight wins.

Player confidence, he agreed, needs a boost. Sometimes on Tuesday, the Trojans seemed unsure of what they were trying to do.

“I guess when it’s not working, you’re like, ‘Should I take this (shot)? Should I put it inside? I guess when you take it, you better believe you’re going to do it.

Spartz finished with 24 points and Weg with 12. Point guard Olivia Hayenga had 18 points.

Stella Winterfeld led Western Christian with 22 points while Lydia Van Kley had 17 and Shayla Van Beek 14.

Western Christian 33 76

Worthington 37 63

WESTERN CHRISTIAN (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Van Beek 2-2-4-14, DeJager 0-1-0-2, Van Kley 0-7-3-17, Statema 1-1-1-6 , Winterfeld 0-9-4-22, Herberts 0-3-2-8, Wynja 0-3-1-7. Totals 3-26-15-76.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Scheitel-Taylor 0-1-2-4, Hayenga 0-7-4-18, T.Spartz 0-9-6-24, Weg 0-4-4- 12, Beckmann 1-0-0-3, K.Spartz 0-1-0-2. Totals 1-22-16-63.


Western Christian 94, Worthington 44

There was at least one Worthington player who never let one-sided scoring get him down, and that was 6-0 freshman guard Swinea, who scored 15 points in the first half and finished with 24. He also had six rebounds.

Worthington trailed 57-22 at halftime in a game he had never played in. But Swinea still put on a show.

“Just take the ball and just attack,” he described his attitude. “We have to keep booking. That’s what my father told me: ‘Keep taking it, don’t be afraid’.

Swinea is still so confident in the team that he thinks the Trojans can still secure a state tournament berth despite being 1-6 at this point.

“It’s still early in the season. We can catch up. … We still have a chance, we just have to keep going.

The talented but young Trojans, however, were simply unable to keep up with a Western Christian team that was long, fast and very athletic. The Wolfpack connected nine 3-point shots in the game to Worthington’s (per Swinea). They gave WHS the whole package – pressing, forcing turnovers, scoring layups and scoring from long range.

Wyatt Gulker led the way for Western (7-1) with 19 points.

Western Christian 57 94

Worthington 22 44

WESTERN CHRISTIAN (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Winterfeld 1-0-0-3, Van’t Hul 0-2-2-6, Pollema 3-1-0-11, Gulker 1-7-2- 19, Jansma 1-3-0-9, Duma 1-0-0-3, E. Van Essen 1-2-1-8, Petitt 1-1-0-5, T. Van Essen 0-4-4 -12, T. Van Regenmorter 0-4-1-9, K. Van Regenmorter 0-3-3-9. Totals 9-27-13-94.

WORTHINGTON (3FG-2FG-2FG-FT-TP) — J. Brandner 0-0-3-3, Lia 0-2-3-7, Swinea 1-9-3-24, Mulder 0-1-0- 2, McCoy 0-1-2-4, Zeidi 0-1-0-2, Bobb 0-1-0-2. Totals 1-15-11-44.