BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
BURLINGTON – It was a bad night to be shooting a basketball wearing a dark blue Holy Trinity jersey Friday night in Burlington.
Holy Trinity was held to under 50 points for only the third time this year as the ball clanked, and banged, and rolled around and occasionally went in as the Nikes downed visiting HTC 54-42 in Southeast Iowa Superconference action.
Seniors Conrad Connor and Cory Hopper, numbers 1 and 2 in scoring in the conference at 18.3 and 17.7 points per game were held to just 12 and 9 respectively.
“I just think we were just pressing a little bit tonight. Their defense was really good and sometimes when those first shots don’t go down the rims get a little tighter,” said Head Coach John Hellige.
“Notre Dame’s a solid team one through seven, but you know… 40 points on the board… it’s gonna be hard to beat anybody with 4o points.”
Notre Dame took a quick 11-7 lead going into the second quarter, but the tempo and the transitions in the quarter were telling a quick story of the Crusaders dealing with the proverbial “lid” on the basket.
The Crusaders never did get a lead in the game but had some bursts of momentum in the the final six minutes that seemed to hint at a run and a possible comeback.
Senior Jack Stinson, who finished with 8 points, was hacked in the act on a strong move inside the lane and seemed to fire up the HTC faithful and Crusaders pulling his team to within 7. He missed the free throw on the play. About two minutes later, Connor did a 10-second Curly Neal routine between four different Nikes and then drove to the lane and was fouled, much to the delight of the visiting fans. If you don’t know Curly Neal…YouTube it.
Hellige said the team seemed to react to Stinson’s play when they are usually falling in line behind Conrad and Hopper.
“He’s a big body and he plays really hard and I think the team fed off his energy a little bit,” Hellige said.
The loss is the Crusader’s third loss in a row and moves the team to 4-5 on the season. The Crusaders had won two straight putting up 70 on Cardinal and Central Lee prior to the skid.
Hellige said he doesn’t see big changes are needed to get the team back on track.
“Basically we’re gonna try to sharpen up our offense a bit and get kids in some situations where we can work on some different scenarios.”
Rounding out the scoring to the Crusaders was Connor Hellweg who had 10 points all in the first half including two 3-pointers and Nick Pothitakis with 3.
Jett Tjaden led the Nikes with 15 points.
In the junior varsity contest, the Crusaders also fell to the Nikes. Brant Holtkamp, Reed Fehseke and Adam Rauenbueler paced the Crusaders with 11, 10 and 8 respectively.