BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – The shots weren’t falling for Holy Trinity’s girls basketball team.
And when that happened, the inside became a traffic jam for the Crusaders.
Friday’s 37-33 loss to Cardinal at Shottenkirk Gym was one of those nights when the outside shots kept missing.
The Crusaders went the entire game without a 3-pointer, which allowed the Comets to crowd the lane. And when Holy Trinity did get to the basket, either the shots didn’t fall or the ball was knocked away.
“Just didn’t make any easy shots,” Johnson said. “Couldn’t get anything going from the outside. I don’t know if we made any 3-point shots tonight. When you can’t stretch the defense, it’s hard to get anything inside.
“I don’t think we hit a shot over 15 feet tonight. We’ve got to stretch the defense, make them breathe. And we didn’t do that. It’s something we have to get better at.”
Holy Trinity (2-1) opened the season with wins over WACO and New London.
“We’re young,” Johnson said. “I knew we were going to have growing pains. Tonight we needed someone to step up, and we didn’t have that person.
“I knew this could happen with all of the ups and downs. It’s only the third game, we’re working a lot of new people in, we’re trying new stuff.”
Holy Trinity took an 18-15 lead to start the third quarter, then went scoreless for almost six minutes as Cardinal took control by scoring the next 11 points.
“We just had a lot of unforced turnovers,” Johnson said. “Plus we had some shots that didn’t fall.”
Still, the Crusaders had their chances in the closing minutes. Cardinal was just 1-of-6 in free throws in the final 1:30, but Holy Trinity could only get within 36-33 with 30 seconds to play.
Mary Kate Bendlage led Holy Trinity with eight points. Natalie Randolph added seven.
“It’s Game 3. We’ll be fine,” Johnson said. “We just have to keep practicing, get stronger with the ball.”
On Thursday, the Holy Trinity junior varsity beat Cardinal of Eldon 33-13. Natalie Randolph had 13 points to lead HTC.
The Crusaders travel to Van Buren on Tuesday for another varsity boys/girls doubleheader with a 6 p.m. tip-off.