Free throws haunt HTC in home loss to Cardinal

Holy Trinity's Jason Thurman (35) seems all alone in a sea of red as he drives to the basket in the early going of Tuesday's 63-6 loss to Cardinal. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Crabtree hits four 3s with four fouls in fourth quarter


FORT MADISON – Holy Trinity Catholic head coach John Hellige said senior Blake Crabtree is a streaky shooter.

But the streak ran just a little cold as the Crusaders fell to Cardinal of Eldon Tuesday night in 63-61 in overtime.

Crabtree who’d hit four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter playing with four fouls, missed two of three free throws, the third intentionally with a just over a second left in the game sealing the win for Cardinal (6-4) winners of five straight.

Crabtree heated up from the left wing in the fourth quarter. In addition to the four 3-pointers, he had another catch a bad bounce on the way through the rim and pop out with :58 left in the game. His fourth 3-ball knotted the score at 56-all with 23 seconds left.

“He just caught fire and we tried to get him the ball. He’s a streaky shooter and tonight he was really good,” Hellige said.

HTC senior Matt Hellige (31) gets bumped by Cardinal’s Dawson Lewis (21) in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s 63-61 HTC loss. Hellige would convert both free throws to tie the game at 58 and force overtime. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Cardinal’s sophomore Dalton Lewis made a circus fade away jumper off the glass falling down off the right side of lane to put Cardinal up by two, but HTC senior Matt Hellige hit two critical free throws with 14.9 left in the game to tie the score at 58 and force overtime.

To start the extra period, the Crusaders committed back-to-back turnovers, but Cardinal wouldn’t take advantage of the miscues. HTC looked to score first when Quentin Schneider, also playing with four fouls, drove the lane but couldn’t convert the layup.

He would miss both free throws and Cardinal’s Landon Becker would hit a 3-ball on the other side from the left wing to put the Rockets up 61-58.

Crabtree would miss a three in the next possession and Cardinal would get the rebound, but a pesky Vasin Thurman, who finished with 20 points on the night, hung around and picked off a pass under HTC’s basket to make it 61-60.

After a couple more turnovers on both ends, Holy Trinity’s Chandler Rung would bump into Blaine Bryant and get called for the foul. Bryant would convert both with 16.5 left on the clock.

HTC would call a time out to set up a final play at their end to try and free up Crabtree.

The Crusaders worked the perimeter and then got the ball to Crabtree in front of the HTC faithful and let go with a shot from the left side that clanked off the back of the rim. But Becker leaped into Crabtree and was whistled for the foul sending Crabtree to the line for three free throws and a chance to tie the game with :01.5 left, down 63-60.

Crabtree would make the first and miss the second forcing another time out. He intentionally missed the third, but a heave from Thurman at the buzzer fell left of the basket.

The Crusaders Vasin Thurman forces up a shot off a missed Blake Crabtree free throw in the final second that would miss left. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Hellige said the play was to move the ball around to Crabtree for the shot.

“We were trying to get it to him. That was the play we wanted.”

Cardinal has won five straight playing with a host of sophomores, four of whom scored in double figures in the win.

“They just knocked off Pekin, who’s one of the top teams in the (Southeast Iowa Superconference) North. We scouted them heavily and expected a good game tonight,” Hellige said.

He also said the Crusaders have been battling some sickness which he attributed to the 17 turnovers Tuesday.

“We’re just trying to find that consistence we found at Mediapolis before the break,” Hellige said. “We need to cut down on the turnovers, make layups, make free throws – the easy stuff.”

The loss was the second in overtime this year, and three of the Crusaders losses this year have come by three points or less.

Crabtree finished with 16 points on the night. Jason Thurman had eight, Hellige had seven, Rung added six and Quentin Schneider added five to round out the scoring for HTC.

Grainer had 17 for Cardinal. Becker and Bryant each added 14 for the Rockets.

The Crusaders (3-6) travel to Central Lee (1-9) Friday in girls/boys varsity double header.

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