BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Senior Ashlynn Haas exploded for 17 points in the second half, including a crucial three-point play with two minutes left to help seal a 50-45 win over Danville Tuesday night in girls high school basketball action.
Haas took over for the Lady Crusaders in the final two minutes of the come-from-behind win with seven of HTC’s final 19 points.
With HTC down by 9 with just under four minutes left, Haas converted in transition and then scored after a Danville turnover to cut the lead to five points.
Holy Trinity would get another stop on the defensive side and then in the half-court junior Bailey Hellweg would get loose from the right wing and bury a 3-pointer with 2:23 left to cut the lead to one.
The Crusaders were in the middle of a 12-2 run capped by a running layup from Haas who drew contact on the drive and converted the 3-point play giving HTC a 44-43 lead, its first lead since the 5:53 mark of the 3rd period.
Danville would retake the lead when Cassidy Yalpa scored with 1:47 left in the game. On their next possession, Haas would find freshman Brooke Mueller underneath with a nice look and Mueller would finish the play to give HTC a 46-45 lead.
HTC would then go into Haas mode with the senior guard being chased around and fouled. Haas would convert 4-of-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Head coach Tony Johnson said Haas took the team on her shoulders in the second half.
“Right now that’s her natural spot. She’s my primary ball handler and she’s taking it all on herself,” Johnson said.
“Sometimes she tries to do too much and that’s understandable as you’re trying to bring along younger guards.”
Johnson worked 10 players into the game trying to find which formula works best. The Crusaders have had just two weeks to practice and didn’t have a full squad until this week.
“I’m still trying to figure out what combination works. At the end, I finished with a freshman on the floor. It was all over the place. I had a sophomore guard playing post, but it will sort itself out,” he said.
“I’m proud of them. They could have folded up being down by eight, but like I said, it’s the same thing with volleyball, these girls keep chipping away at it and they get there.”
Haas led all scorers with 22 points on the night. Claire Pothitakis and Avery Hopper each scored eight. Hellweg and Mueller scored four points each, while Maria Rauenbuehler and Raquel Schneider each scored buckets for HTC.
The Crusaders (1-1) take on Highland on Thursday in a boys/girls double header at Shottenkirk Gymnasium.