BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – Central Lee’s boys basketball team has won just four games this season, but two have come to end the regular season.
The 48-34 win over Holy Trinity on Tuesday night was a sign that the Hawks haven’t given up.
“They’re executing, they’re listening better,” coach Evan Swanson said. “They’re doing the small things that we’ve talked about all season. Which I’m happy about.”
The Hawks (4-17), who defeated Louisa-Muscatine on Friday night, held Holy Trinity (8-13) to just 11 second-half points. The Crusaders scored just two points in the first 5:35 of the third quarter, and no points for the first 4:08 of the fourth quarter.
“I told these boys all season, no matter what happens, if you win a game, it’s a lot more fun to hold a team below 40,” Swanson said. “It feels better. That’s the first time, I think, we’ve done that in two years. It’s a lesson that, to win these kind of games, you’re going to have to play good defense.”
“The third quarter was rough,” Holy Trinity coach John Hellige said. “We just didn’t finish. Really, that’s it.
“It seemed like once a couple of shots wouldn’t fall, everybody struggled to finish. Kind of the story of the night.”
Holy Trinity survived the bad start to the third quarter and trailed 34-29 with 1:45 left in the period. But the Hawks scored the next eight points, and the Crusaders would get no closer than eight points the rest of the game.
Holy Trinity defeated the Hawks in triple overtime when the two teams played earlier in the season.
“Last time we played them, we played 3-2 and 2-3 zones. We know we have to play a little (man-to-man) in the playoffs, so why not try it tonight?” Swanson said.
“When you can’t finish like that, it’s just hard to beat teams,” Hellige said. “We wanted to get 60 points, and what did we finish with? Thirty-four? So that’s 26 points off our goal. We left some free throws out there, a ton of layups. If we convert on some of those, it takes pressure off your defense.”
Bronson Sargent led Central Lee with 16 points. Seth Mayes had 14 points, 10 in the second half.
Vasin Thurman led Holy Trinity with 10 points.