BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – The play went exactly how it was designed.
The shot didn’t cooperate.
Quentin Schneider’s layup as the buzzer sounded rolled around the rim, and off, and Holy Trinity’s boys basketball team fell, 46-45, to Notre Dame in Friday’s Homecoming game at Shottenkirk Gym.
See the last seconds here:
“It was what we wanted,” Holy Trinity coach John Hellige said of the final play. “Other times, that shot goes in. He had a great look, made a great shot, it just didn’t fall.”
The miss ended a back-and-forth game in which each team had its opportunities to take control before the other fought back.
Notre Dame led 46-45 after Holy Trinity’s Jason Thurman made one of two free throws. With a chance to build the lead from the free-throw line, Notre Dame’s Matthew Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-bonus. But the Crusaders turned the ball over near midcourt.
On the ensuing inbounds play, with 17 seconds left, Holy Trinity got the ball back after forcing a 5-second call. The Crusaders took some of the final seconds off the clock, but a trap near midcourt forced another Holy Trinity timeout.
That’s when Hellige drew up the final play. Schneider, who led the Crusaders with 14 points, drove the left baseline and let the shot go right before the buzzer sounded. The layup looked perfect, but at the last second rolled off. Schneider slapped the court in frustration as the Nikes celebrated.
“This is a special bunch,” Hellige said. “They listen to everything that’s said in the huddle during timeouts, and then they go out an execute it. I can’t ask much more of them. This team is taking steps forward every day, and we’re learning on the fly.”
Schneider led the Crusaders with 14 points. Vasin Thurman added 10 points.
Holy Trinity trailed, 24-18, at halftime, then outscored Notre Dame 17-9 in the third quarter to set up a wild fourth quarter in which each team led by no more than three points.
“We learned a lot tonight,” Hellige said. “We’ll get better.”
The Crusaders go on the road Tuesday with a girls/boys doubleheader at Van Buren.