BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Holy Trinity Catholic’s girls basketball team pressed Fort Madison almost the entire game Saturday as the Crusaders evened their season at 8-8 with a 55-24 win over the host Bloodhounds.
The Hounds scored first and had one lead during the game at 2-0 before the Crusaders’ uptempo game and pressure at every point quickly broke down the Hounds ball handlers.
HTC went on a 15-4 run until Sarah Bernhart scored on back-to-back trips down the floor to close the gap to 15-8. HTC’s Madison Mohrfeld scored for the Crusaders at the end of the first to push the lead to 17-8 at the end of one.
Senior Brett Schneider, who’s currently third in the Southeast Iowa Superconference South division in scoring at 15.3 points per game, scored nine in the opening period mostly in transition.
HTC junior Emily Box opened the 2nd period with a bucket inside and then both teams went cold from the field until Bernhart scored again with 5:16 left in the half. Braxtyn McGhyghy converted both ends of a one-and-one with about a minute left in the half, but HTC got a bucket from Eryn Anderson and then sophomore Avery Hopper scored inside and then proceeded to knock down the inbounds pass in the press and scored again with :26 left to give the Crusaders a 25-12 lead at the half.
The visitors kept the press on in the third period and ran past the Hounds 14-7 highlighted by Box’s six points. The Hounds got a 3-ball from Taylor Shannon, a bucket from McGhyghy, and couple of free throws in the period.
With the press still in full go, the Hounds would only manage five points in the 4th period, while the disruption resulted in 16 points for the Crusaders.
Fort Madison head coach Charlie Knipe said he understood the pressure.
“Everybody will press us because all they see is our turnovers and our guard play,” he said.
“I thought our last four games we played very well. But today we just drew a blank especially beating the press, which is nothing new, we’ve seen it before. “But we get away from what we know and then we have turnovers.”
He said Schneider and Box can be tough to match up against.
“Don’t take anything away from HTC. Schneider is a great player and Box intimidates our posts,” Knipe said. “We tried to get Box in some foul trouble and we did that, but then we went away from that, too.”
Crusader head coach Tony Johnson said the crosstown atmosphere hyped the game a bit, but HTC had a long road trip last night coming back with a win at Cardinal.
‘The biggest thing was we got the ball where we wanted, but we missed some shots and then we started making them toward the end,” he said. “We wanted to create some pressure and get some turnovers and had some success there.”
He said sophomore Avery Hopper is building her confidence. Hopper finished with 10 points, her first time in double figures in varsity action.
“She’s been coming along the last three or four games. She’s working a lot with the assistants at the post and is only a sophomore so she’s getting her confidence.”
Bernhart led the 0-15 Hounds with eight points on the night, senior Kamryn Bailey and McGhyghy each had five points for Fort Madison. Shannon had three on the night, Maddie Rashid had two points, and Anna Kester chipped in with one.
Schneider finished with 17 for Holy Trinity. Box had 16, and Hopper finished in double figures for the first time at varsity with 10 points. Mohrfeld and Anderson each had four, Ashlyn Haas had three, and Taylor Boeding converted a free throw to round out the Crusader scoring.
HTC hosts Central Lee on Tuesday before traveling to Danville on Friday night. The Hounds travel to Danville on Tuesday before hosting Mt. Pleasant on Friday.
In junior varsity action, HTC won 51-33. Scoring for the Hounds were Dalyn Wondra with 8 points, Nadia Boeding had seven, Brandy Walker had six, and Kailyn Guzman and Kylee Cashman each had four. Josie Pumphrey and Eleesha Estrada both had two points.