BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WAYLAND – The Holy Trinity Catholic girls basketball team started December off with a bang, and a last second win over WACO on the road.
The Crusaders overcame a 10-point first half deficit to rally for a 41-39 win over the Warriors to move to 2-0 on the year.
Junior Kassi Randolph and freshman Natalie Randolph hit key free throws in the final seconds to cap the rally.
Kassi finished with a team high 10 points in her first game for HTC after missing the season opener. Senior Maria Rauenbuehler tied freshman Mary Kate Bendlage with 7 each.
Raquel Schneider had the only 3-ball for Holy Trinity in the second half enroute to five points on the night. Senior Bailey Hellweg also had five all in the first half. Brooke Mueller finished with four points and Natalie Randolph went 3-of-4 at the free throw line down the stretch to round out the scoring.
Hellweg hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring, a recurring theme for in the Crusaders first two outings of the year, but then WACO held the Lady Crusaders to just two four more points the rest of the quarter while the Warriors ran to a 11-5 lead.
The Crusaders defense would sputter in the second quarter giving up another 11, while only being able to convert five field goals in the half and not getting a single trip to the free throw line.
HTC sent the Warriors to the line 13 times in the first half.
The Crusaders would turn things around in the second half however, going on an 11-3 run out of the locker room, aided by some full court pressure.
“We found the right combination of girls in the second half with the press and they just kept chipping away at the lead,” Head Coach Tony Johnson said.
“Both the Randolph girls had key baskets at the end. But it was really everyone on the floor in the second half that helped get us back in the game.”
HTC trailed by just three with less than a minute to go in the third, but WACO would put up five in the final minute.
Trailing by eight going into the final period, WACO would extend the lead to 10 with less than six minutes left at 39-29, but then the Crusaders defense would hold the Warriors scoreless the rest of the way.
Rauenbuehler and Kassi Randolph would combine for eight points both converting a couple free throws and a bucket in the fourth. The Crusaders would go to the line 17 times in the final period, making eight and trailed by four 39-35 with less than a minute to go.
The Crusaders are off until Friday when they host Cardinal in girls/boys double header.