The girls ‘and boys’ teams lost to Western Christian of Iowa on Tuesday night at the WHS Gym. On the girls’ side, their 76-63 loss was their third in a row and their fourth in their last five games, coming down 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 dominated 94-44.
Granted, the WHS boys (now 1-6) had their hands full against Western, but head coach CJ Nelson was still not happy with the Trojans’ performance. Despite an impressive performance from 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 started Tuesday’s game 2-6 but played over their weight as the Trojans made many of their own mistakes despite a strong indoors score for most of the game.
“We returned the ball as we wanted. We have scores inside. But we’ve had too many turnovers. And we were pushed back (in defense), ”said head coach Eric Lindner.
Western Christian 76, Worthington 63
Worthington led 9-2 early in the game as four of his players reached the goals column. Posts Tarren Spartz and Ellie Weg were particularly strong on the inside, with Spartz scoring 16 points in the first half and Weg adding seven.
But the Wolfpack, trailing 37-33 at half-time, scored the first five points of the second half and led 65-56 with 3:45 remaining. Trojans never caught fire.
“I don’t understand the difference between now and the start of the season,” said Lindner, whose team started the 2021-22 campaign with five consecutive 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 that doesn’t work you ask yourself, ‘Should I take this (photo)? Should I put it inside? ‘ I guess when you take it you better believe you’re going to get there.
Spartz finished with 24 points and Weg finished 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
Vineyard 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, Harberts 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 take him down, and it was 6-0 freshman 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 been to. But Swinea nevertheless made the show.
“Just take the ball and attack,” he described his attitude. “We have to keep booking. That’s what my father said: ‘Keep on understanding, don’t be afraid.’
Swinea is still so confident in the team that he believes the Trojans can still secure a place in the State Tournament 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 on nine 3-pointers in the game at Worthington (by Swinea). They gave WHS the whole package – squeezing, forcing turnovers, scoring layups and scoring from long distance.
Wyatt Gulker led the way for Western (7-1) with 19 points.
Western Christian 57 94
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, Douma 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.