BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WAPELLO – Someone told Wapello coach Ken Spielbauer that Holy Trinity has some shooters.
The Crusaders traveled to Wapello last night to face the 30-year veteran coach and raced out to an 8-point first half lead highlighted by senior Cory Hopper’s 12 points and Connor Conrad’s 11 points, six of which came courtesy of the free throw line. Conrad was sent to the charity stripe nine times in the first half but only twice in the second half. Conrad is coming off a 40-point performance against Central Lee last week.
Head Coach John Hellige said Spielbauer ran a sticky defense that held the usually stout 3-point shooting of the Crusaders in check.
“They manned us up pretty good and we didn’t take too many 3s,” Hellige said. “That’s a pretty tough team and very well coached. Ken’s been up there for close to 30 years and I think he scouted us pretty well.”
“As a team we played really well in the first half. We had an 8-point lead at halftime. Second half came out really flat and they made a nice run. In the end we got into some foul trouble and that was it.”
Hopper led HTC with 20 points including the team’s only 3-pointer in the first half, followed by Conrad with 17, Bailey Merschman had 8, Cullin Thornton added 6, Nick Pothitakis tossed in a bucket and Connor Hellweg added a free throw to round out the scoring.
Trenton Massner led the Indians with 21 points on the night.
The Crusaders, 4-3, play host to New London after the holiday break on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
In the junior varsity game, Holy Trinity won 63-47 after holding just a two-point first half lead. The Crusaders outscored Wapello 37-20 in the second half. The Crusaders were led by Matt Hellige with 16, Reed Fehseke with 14 including four 3-pointers, 11 for Brant Holtkamp, 9 from Adam Rauenbueler. Quentin Schneider and Blake Crabtree each had 4 and Kyle Bredemeyer and Connor Holvoet each had a bucket.