BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – It was about this time last year when Head Coach Tony Johnson’s Holy Trinity Crusaders went down to Central Lee and became the talk of the town by knocking off the highly touted Hawks on the road.
The HTC girls had several leads on the night, but couldn’t hold off MacKenzie Northup and the 14-1 Hawks as Central Lee walked out of Shottenkirk Gymnasium with a 60-51 win in Southeast Iowa Superconference South girls basketball action.
At the start it looked like it might be a repeat of 2017 as HTC raced out to an 11-4 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter. The Hawks clawed their way back with a 5-0 run but then the Crusaders put up a 6-2 run, still in the first quarter, to go back up by six 17-11. But Central Lee put six more on the board to trail HTC by one 17-16 going into the second quarter.
Senior Madison Mohrfeld went 4-for-4 at the free throw line and junior Taylor Boeding hit a 3-pointer to lead the Crusaders.
Central Lee took the lead with about four minutes left in the first half at 23-22 and then pushed the lead to 26-24 before sophomore Ashlynn Haas hit from long range to give the Crusaders a one point lead, a lead they would give up just prior to the end 27-30.
The third period started much the same as the first with Holy Trinity shutting down the potent Hawks for a full four minutes on an 11-0 run that saw HTC up 38-30 and then 40-32 before Central again staged a late period rally and cut the deficit to three at 40-37.
HTC hit a rut in the middle of the fourth period giving up a 9-0 run to give Central Lee a 7-point lead at 50-43 and couldn’t get any closer than the seven points the rest of the way.
Junior Emily Box led the Crusaders with 14 points on the night. Senior Brett Schneider, who came into the game third in the conference in scoring, was held to just nine points. Boeding had nine points on the night, Eryn Anderson scored seven, Avery Hopper had five points, Mohrfeld finished with her four, and Haas had three.
Northup led Central Lee with 20 points, Mya Merschman added 15, and Makenna Hall chipped in with 14. Central Lee (15-1) hosts New London on Friday night.
HTC travels to 13-4 Danville on Friday night in girls/boys varsity doubleheader.
In junior varsity action Monday night, HTC downed Central Lee 61-29 behind 16 points from sophomore Avery Hopper, 10 points from Bailey Hellweg, and 11 from Ashlynn Haas.