BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – December in high school basketball is about learning from your mistakes.
Getting a big win while making those mistakes is just fine.
There was some sloppiness to Holy Trinity’s 68-59 win over Cardinal on Friday night. But it’s a good place to start for the Crusaders with a long season ahead.
“The positive in this game is we left a lot of mistakes out there that we need to clean up,” coach John Hellige said. “We got a little frazzled there (in the second half). Like I told the boys in the locker room, we kicked it around a little bit there. But when we really needed to, we had the poise and the confidence to make free throws and get defensive stops.”
Holy Trinity (2-0) led 29-18 at halftime and kept that double-digit lead for most of the second half. The lead was 57-41 with 3:47 to play in the game when Cardinal’s pressure defense rattled the Crusaders.
Cardinal went on an 11-2 run — the Comets scored four points in the span of five seconds during the stretch — to get within 59-52. A 3-pointer from Cardinal’s Griffin Greiner got the Comets to within 64-59. But Chandler Rung and Tyler Snaadt each made two free throws to provide the final margin.
Cardinal’s Landon Becker had all of his team’s first-quarter points as the Comets built an 11-9 lead. But Holy Trinity scored the first seven points of the second quarter, then closed the period on a 9-0 run.
“We were trying to build and kind of put (the game) away,” Hellige said. “But this team, it’s a mixed bag. We have very seasoned, smart players. And yet we have some guys learning the ropes. They’re coming along quickly, and when they do, we’ll be a pretty good team.”
Rung and Vasin Thurman each had 18 points to lead the Crusaders.
Becker had a game-high 24 points, while Greiner added 15.
“It wasn’t a clean game. But there’s some upside to come out of it,” Hellige said.