BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Senior Emily Box was held scoreless for three and a half quarters Tuesday night, but the Holy Trinity girls basketball team rallied for a 29-26 win over visiting Danville in Southeast Iowa Superconference action.
Danville led the wild and physical game the entire way until Box got an inlet pass from Ashlynn Haas on the left side of the offense and forced up a jumper under the basket and was hacked in the act by the Bears’ Ashley Pfadenhauer. The two battled all night for inside position in the lane. It was Box’s first points of the game with 2:23 remaining. She converted the free-throw and HTC had its first lead 25-23, in a low-scoring affair.
Danville would call a timeout with 1:55 left in the game, but couldn’t get a shot off out of the time out. With HTC in a 3/4 court press, Box stole a pass at midcourt and fed Haas on the left side who missed from about 15 feet and, after a scrum for the ball that ended up tied up, HTC Head Coach Tony Johnson called a time out, with HTC in possession.
The Crusaders set up the half-court offense after getting the ball in and swung the offense to the left where Boeding found Box inside again. Box pulled up and hit a five-foot floater in the lane for a 27-23 lead. Johnson then used another full timeout to set up a press and call a defense. Danville would commit a turnover and Boeding would run the other way and get fouled on a missed layup attempt, but would convert both free throws for a 29-23 lead.
Danville would get the ball in and get through the press down the right side of the court where Isabella Smith hit a 22-footer from the right wing to pull Danville within three 26-29 with just :27 seconds left in the game.
With Holy Trinity inbounding, Boeding took the inbound pass and fed the ball ahead just out of the reach of Eryn Anderson and Danville picked up the turnover and headed the other direction where Danville’s Bailey Morris missed on a 3-ball from the right side.
On Holy Trinity’s next possession, Claire Pothitakis got loose behind the Bears’ press and was fouled heading to the basket. She missed the front end of the one and one with just six seconds remaining. Danville fed the ball up to Alyssa Pfadenhauer who pulled up for an open look at a three-pointer, but Box adjusted quickly to the outlet pass and blocked the shot with no time on the clock, her third block of the night.
“I’ll be honest, they played a tight 2-3. If they even thought she was going to get the ball, they had three girls on her,” Johnson said of Box’s night.
“It was just one of those games that you just have to tell people the opposite of what you want to do,” he said. “It’s just one of those nights, it was a back-to-back night and Danville – it’s always a great game with them. They’ve always been aggressive and play great defense. The Pfadenhauer girl is very physical out on the end and it was a grinder.”
Johnson said he got on the girls throughout the night about boxing out. He said Box was having trouble getting to her spots inside and it was clear that the girls were frustrated.
Boeding opened the game with a 3-ball and finished with 11 points to lead Holy Trinity. The senior has hit at least three 3-pointers in the past three games and has 14 in that span.
The two teams chugged along in the physical contest finding scoring tough. Danville held an 18-11 first half lead capped by a long baseline jumper from the Bears’ Smith as time expired. The two teams combined for four turnovers in the final two minutes with no one getting a shot until the buzzer beater. On the play, the ball changed possession several times and scooted between players legs with girls diving all over the floor trying to get possession. Danville finally scooped it up and pitched it over to Smith who just missed a three pointer on the play.
Holy Trinity got a 3-pointer from Haas to open the scoring in the third and then went on a 9-3 run in the period where the only points were scored on 3-balls, two from Haas, one from Boeding and one from Smith at the other end. The Crusaders closed the gap to 20-22 at the end of the period.
Haas finished with nine points on the night to go with Boeding’s 11. Box finished with five points, all in the final 2:23, and Eryn Anderson scored four to round out the scoring.
The Crusaders (8-5) are off until Saturday when they play host to cross-town rival Fort Madison in a four-game Saturday set beginning at 2 p.m. with both girls/boys junior varsity playing before the girls/boys varsity double header. It’s also cake auction night and cakes will be auctioned starting at halftime of the girls varsity contest.