BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
BURLINGTON – The Nikes put up 81 points for the second time this season in an 81-48 win over Holy Trinity Catholic on Homecoming Night Friday in Southeast Iowa Superconference boys basketball action.
Holy Trinity had one lead in the game, when junior Reed Fehseke hit a three pointer with just over a minute gone to start the game for a 3-2 advantage. After that point it was all Nike basketball and one play in particular set the tone.
Nike senior Gavin Kies took a pass from the wing, took a step toward the basket, and jumped to dunk the ball. The ball went off the back of the rim, straight up about 10 feet in the air and came down through the hoop. In addition to defying some physics, the bucket put the Nikes up 21-6 with about a minute left in the quarter.
The Crusaders were getting good looks, but the lanky Nike squad kept Holy Trinity’s squad off balance. The Crusaders converted on just two of 11 shots in the period with juniors Hellige and Fehseke with three each.
Nike Senior Riley Koenig and Kies each had six in the period. Holy Trinity also committed eight turnovers in the period.
Head Coach John Hellige said the Crusaders have come out flat in the last couple of games against two of the top teams in 1A in the area.
“The last two games we’ve just come in with an air of being defeated before we even start. You just can’t go into games that way,” Hellige said.
Notre Dame junior Nick Skerik hit a couple 3-pointers including one with 2:30 left in the half to push Notre Dame’s lead to 41-17. The Nikes had been working the inside game with Koenig, Kies, and Axel Tjaden, and then Skerik started hitting from deep. Hellige and Fehseke each had six in the second period. Brant Holtkamp started a small 6-2 run with buckets sandwiching a baseline layup from the left by junior Quentin Schneider.
The Crusaders struggled in the opening half getting the ball past half court clean. The Nikes press allowed the inbound pass, but then collapsed into zone traps that gave HTC some fits in the early going.
“We made some bad decisions in the press and committed some turnovers and got ourselves into a hole early,” Hellige said.
Hellige, who’s been struggling in the Crusaders’ first five games getting opportunities underneath facing taller opponents, scored quick to start the third period. Notre Dame countered and then Holtkamp hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to 49-28, but then Holy Trinity would miss its next six shots until Fehseke broke the dry spell with a 3-ball from deep at the top of the arch.
Notre Dame would then go on an 11-5 run to end the quarter up 64-31. Fehseke would put up five more points in the final period to finish with 20 on the night. Hellige ended with 15. Brant Holtkamp had seven points, Blake Crabtree had four, and Vasin Thurman had two points to round out the scoring for HTC.
The Crusaders take on 2-2 Van Buren on Tuesday night in girls/boys double header at Shottenkirk Gym in Fort Madison.