BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
BURLINGTON – The Holy Trinity girls continue to get balanced scoring and strong inside defense to help keep them in the win column.
The Crusaders held off a third quarter rally from a Burlington Notre Dame squad for a 52-38 win Friday night in Southeast Iowa Superconference girls basketball action.
Junior Ashlyn Haas and senior Eryn Anderson led the ladies in blue with 11 points each. But Holy Trinity on any given night can have five or six different players score in double figures. Emily Box and Mya Lawlor both had eight points for Holy Trinity.
Head Coach Tony Johnson shifted point guard duties from Lawlor to Haas last week and has opened up shooting opportunities for Haas. The junior put up 18 against New London earlier this week.
“I like it because I can start the offense and see the open girls and let things develop in front of me,” Haas said.
The downside of the adjustment may be controlling turnovers. The Crusaders committed 20 on the night including a stretch of 2:05 toward the end of the second quarter where they committed eight. Johnson said the two guards accounted for 11 of the miscues.
“I’ve gotta look at turnovers and see where we’re at. Between (Ashlynn) and Lawlor they had 11 of our 20 turnovers,” Johnson said.
But whatever Johnson said at halftime had an impact because Holy Trinity committed just four in the second half when he was regularly seen telling the girls to slow down.
Holy Trinity jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and pushed the advantage to 15-4 with just over a minute remaining in the first period. Junior Avery Hopper and Box synced up on the left low post for back-to-back buckets. Hopper was able to get Box the ball on the block in two straight possessions. Box is averaging about 13 points per game despite shooting less than 40% from the field.
Boeding got the scoring started in the second period with a 3-ball from the right elbow. Junior Alyssa Trail countered for the Lady Nikes after Box committed her second foul of the game just starting the second period. Anderson and Hopper would score inside on consecutive possessions forcing a Notre Dame time out. Lawlor would score out of the time out. Sophomore Katie Denning, filling in for Anderson who had three fouls, fouled the Nikes’ junior Taylor Ackerman, who missed the front end of her one-and-one, but Rylie Todd would get a put back underneath.
The streaky Boeding would convert her second 3-pointer for a 31-12 lead, and then HTC couldn’t find the handle on the ball the rest of the quarter. The Nikes weren’t able to capitalize on the miscues and only scored three points during the stretch, trailing 31-19 at the break.
Box quickly picked up her third foul in the opening seconds of the 2nd half leaving the Crusaders with both post players in foul trouble starting the 3rd quarter. Johnson slowed the pace down in the third period in hopes of reducing the errors. HTC got off just nine shots in the quarter, converting five including a 3-pointer from Haas with 5:05 left in the period. Todd got hot for the Nikes with nine points in the period to help Notre Dame close the gap to six at 38-32 when she hit from about 22 feet on the left side in front of the Nike homecoming fans.
Anderson would score for HTC to give the Crusaders some breathing room. After freshman Katy Stephens put up a runner in the lane to cut the margin to eight, Anderson scored after a scrum where a loose ball bounced off about six players at the HTC end. Lawlor ended up scooping up the ball and hitting Anderson with a bounce pass underneath, who scored and was fouled for a 3-point play before time expired in the quarter with Holy Trinity up 45-34.
Todd would hit a 3-ball again off another Cruaders’ turnover to cut the lead to eight, but both teams would go cold from the field and Notre Dame would commit five turnovers in the first four minutes keeping the hosts to just one more point in the game on a free throw as Holy Trinity went on a 7-1 run to end the game.
Johnson said the foul trouble hurt Holy Trinity in the second half as sophomores Denning and Claire Pothitakis came in to take some minutes off the clock with Anderson and Box nursing fouls on the bench. Box would eventually foul out as Johnson alternated using the seniors in the post instead of having both working the lane at the same time. Box finished with five blocks on the night.
“Eryn and Emily getting in foul trouble in the second half hurt us and we had to go to sophomores. They did a decent job, but they don’t have that experience and we have to work on our depth off the bench.”
He said he’s still pleased with the balanced scoring he’s getting from the 4-2 Crusaders, whose two losses have been by less than a combined dozen points.
“With the offense we run, it should be pretty balanced every night either inside or out. They’re going to have close in on the post or guard outside. When you got two good shooters like Taylor (Boeding) and Ashlynn, and you got two girls inside that score, and then add in Avery who can go either inside or out, that’s the biggest thing for us,” Johnson said.
Haas said the team has struggled with turnovers and pace in the last two games, but played well against Mediapolis last week.
“We’re playing pretty well to this point. The last two games were pretty slow, but I think we’ll pick it up.”
Boeding finished with six points on the night, Hopper had four, and Pothitakis had two to round out the scoring for HTC.
Tuesday the girls play host to 5-1 Van Buren at Shottenkirk Gym. The Lady Warriors bring in junior Taryn Scheuermann, who’s averaging close to 26 points per game and is already verbally committed to Northern Iowa University. The Warriors only loss came in a 5-point loss to Central Lee on Tuesday.