Everything was going right for Travis Meinders.
In the second day of the Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic, Worthington’s senior guard was scoring in nearly every way possible.
“I didn’t even know how many I had throughout the whole game,” Meinders said. “I was just playing to win. All I wanted to do was win.”
But for Meinders, his opposition provided a little extra incentive.
Not only were the Trojans vying for their own tournament’s championship, but Meinders was facing a friend on the opposite team — Perham’s Ben Bucholz.
“Me and Ben just go at it,” Meinders said. “Ben is a really good friend of mine. We roomed together at (South Dakota State University), and we just like to go at it and talk back and forth. It was fun.”
And they didn’t disappoint.
The two matched each other shot-for-shot, point-for-point.
In the end of what proved to be epic performances between the two teams and players, Meinders scored more points. But Bucholz came away with the 65-60 victory.
It wasn’t until later when Meinders realized what he had accomplished.
“When I got home that night, I was sitting in the recliner and my mom told me,” Meinders said. “It wasn’t really an exciting reaction because it still hurt from the loss. It didn’t really hit me to the next day.”
When the final buzzer sounded, Meinders had scored 35 points — the third most in Worthington’s history.
“It feels good to be next to all the great athletes who came through Worthington,” Meinders said. “I was just playing the game. I let the game come to me. I did what I had to. But unfortunately, we ended up short.”
Bucholz nearly matched Meinders’ output, scoring 33 points. The two combined to score 68 points that night, more than 50 percent of the game’s scoring.
“He said, ‘I can’t believe you beat me in points, that was my goal,’” Meinders said. “I beat him last year, too.”
Last year, Meinders scored 28 points. Until his 35-point performance, that was his career high.
The all-time WHS mark was Troy Timmons’ 41 points in 1991 against Jackson.
Marty Jorgensen scored 38 against Marshall in 1966 and had two 35-point performances that same year.
Perhaps the only thing that stopped Meinders against Perham was foul trouble. Picking up his third foul in the first half, Meinders was sent to the bench.
“I got that third foul and I looked at (Coach Vorwald) and he was telling (Zach) Houselog or (Mike) Singsaath to come in,” Meinders said. “I was like, ‘No, I’m fine, I’m fine, I can stay in.’ He was like, ‘No, you’re not, you’re coming out.’ It was really frustrating.”
But once he got back in the game, Meinders picked up right where he left off.
“It wasn’t really too much different,” Meinders said. “I might have had a few more shots, but they were all falling. It just felt good. Everything felt good that night. The flow was there, the rhythm was there, it just came right off my hand really nice.”
On one occasion, Bucholz connected on a 3. Meinders then came down the floor and matched his friend with a 3 of his own.
“I told Ben that he better step it up a little bit more on defense if he was going to stop me,” Meinders said. “We were just jawing back and forth. But it was fun.
“Too bad he wasn’t a guard so we could actually guard each other. But he’s pretty good.”
Meinders first met Bucholz during AAU basketball. But then a South Dakota State basketball camp brought the two closer together. Since then, the two have kept up.
“We keep texting each other throughout the season,” Meinders said. “We text a lot and talk quite a bit, actually.”
But despite all the talking, the Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic provides the two an opportunity to play against each other.
“I think its pretty fun,” Meinders said. “We get pretty competitive on the floor. We like to compete against each other.”
And compete they did. But scoring points isn’t something new for Meinders. So far this season, he has averaged 22 points per game, and is only 14 from scoring his 1,000th career point.
With colleges calling on both players, neither have made their decision yet.
“We only play against each other this one time, that’s it,” Meinders said. “We were talking about college. He hasn’t decided where he wants to go yet, either. He’s like, ‘We should go to the same school and play together.’ It could be a possibility.”
But before Meinders takes his game to the next level, he still has some unfinished business with the Trojans. Tasting defeat for the first time this season, WHS will now look to recover against conference foe Pipestone Area Tuesday.
“We definitely need that throughout the season,” Meinders said. “Last year when we played Mankato West, we got beat by 20. You need that. You need a measuring stick to see where you’re at. Then you need to improve from that game and that’s what we’re going to do.”