BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – The Holy Trinity Catholic girls basketball team were able to slow down undefeated Central Lee through the first half, but a tough third quarter allowed the hosts to walk away with a 63-48 win in Southeast Iowa Superconference girls basketball action.
The Crusaders trailed by only five points at the end of the first half 19-24 led by Taylor Boeding and Madison Mohrfeld’s five points each. Head Coach Tony Johnson had the Crusaders in 3/4 press and then slipped back into a zone defense that seemed to slow the high-scoring Hawks down.
HTC got a quick free throw from Boeding to start the game at 1-0 but then committed six straight turnovers which resulted in seven points for Central Lee, before Mohrfeld put in a rebound off senior Brett Schneider’s shot to get the Crusaders back within three.
The Hawks got a bucket from Emily Fuller, who had 12 points on the night working inside, to go up 9-3, but the Crusaders went on a 6-0 run capped by a Schneider layup to tie the game. MacKenzie Northup scored inside with :35 seconds left and HTC turned it over on the next possession. The Lady Hawks were able to get the ball down to Fuller again, who scored at the buzzer to make it 13-9 at the end of one.
The Hawks nipped Holy Trinity 11-10 in the second quarter. Central Lee was paced by Anna Krehbiel’s six points. Krehbiel finished with 22 on the night to lead all scorers.
HTC went cold from the field in the third quarter, missing on 11 shots and committing five turnovers, and Central Lee raced to a 41-26 advantage.
“The first half we were pretty good, but the third quarter killed us,” Johnson said. “We didn’t get any scores and didn’t get any offensive rebounds and didn’t get very many defensive rebounds either. They dominated us on rebounds and got all the loose balls… and then we went four minutes without scoring.”
The Crusaders would get as close as four when Mohrfeld hit the back end of two free throws. Makenna Hall hit a three after a Fuller bucket and then Krehbiel started to heat up. She converted a bucket with just about four minutes left, Boeding hit a 3-pointer to answer, and then Holy Trinity went cold, committing four turnovers and missing their last seven shots of the quarter to trail by 15 26-41.
Krehbiel scored the first four points of the final period off two more HTC miscues before Sam Hoenig hit a three pointer from the right side. Mya Merschman countered with a three for the Lady Hawks and then Brett Schneider put on a scoring clinic knocking down 14 points in the final five minutes of the game, but not before Central Lee had stretched its lead to 20 at 32-52.
Schneider hit two 3-pointers, three baskets in transition, off steals and then converted a couple free throws to cap the scoring for Holy Trinity. Despite the wild run, HTC only cut the lead to 15. Northup hit a bucket and got a foul call converting the free throw to push the lead to 21.
Johnson said he changed up the zone defense a bit in the second half, but didn’t get the same result.
“We changed it to a different one in the second half but we didn’t react to it very well. You can’t run the same thing for four quarters, you gotta change it up. We just didn’t adjust very well to it. But we’ll be alright. We’ll go home and get ready for Danville on Friday,” he said.
Schneider finished with 17 points for the Crusaders and Mohrfeld finished with nine. Taylor Boeding had eight on the night, while Emily Box chipped in with seven, Hoenig scored six, and Eryn Anderson had one.
The Crusaders fall to 3-4 on the season and have a varsity girls/boys double header on Friday at Shottenkirk gym with a 6 p.m. tip-off for the girls.