BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Lady Crusaders just can’t seem to get things in sync.
A first half filled with close to 25 turnovers and steals put Holy Trinity Catholic in a hole they couldn’t climb out of as Class 3A’s No. 8 West Burlington won 64-31 in Southeast Iowa Superconference basketball.
The Class 1A HTC girls opened the game with a Brooke Mueller bucket inside, but that’s the last time they would hang around with the Falcons.
Senior Sydney Marlow opened with a couple free throws and then the green went on a 10-0 run capped by a bucket inside by Leah Collier on third put-back attempt in the lane.
The inability of HTC (3-10 SEISC, 4-14) to grab rebounds inside wasn’t lost on Head Coach Tony Johnson.
“Lack of – besides Kayla Box. Can’t win if you can’t getting any rebounds,” he said.
The Crusaders have lost six in a row dating back to Jan. 8, when they beat New London.
Johnson said going forward the season’s about getting the seniors as many minutes as he can, while trying to get as much as he can from the younger girls.
Despite a limited return of junior Kassi Randolph from an ankle injury, the Crusaders still couldn’t gel.
“We’re gonna keep playing hard – get maximum effort. It’s all we can do. Try to get better,” he said. “Get seniors as many minutes as we can. We appreciate their efforts, but we want to get the younger players as much time as we can for next year.”
A 1-3-1 press employed early on resulted in turnovers that the Falcons were able to take advantage of.
Holy Trinity was victimized by eight turnovers and steals created by the trapping press in the first quarter alone leading to eight points in transition.
The Falcons would rush out to a 20-11 first quarter lead and went into halftime up 33-18.
Holy Trinity cleaned up play in the third period as far as controlling the ball with only three turnovers, but West Burlington’s Logan Kelley scored three straight layups in the final minute of the third period, all off steals close to half court.
The Crusaders would outscore the Falcons 11-10 in the final eight minutes, but the 32-point deficit was too much to overcome.
The Falcons (14-1, 11-1) 75-53 suffered their first defeat on Tuesday to Class 1A No. 11 Burlington Notre Dame. The girls were without Annaka Harris on Friday and played the entire game in facemasks trying to keep any COVID from spreading through the team.
Falcons Head Coach John Vandenberg said the game was just a sloppy.
“We’re just not playing very well right now. Annaka can handle the ball better, we just have to control a bit stronger. We make little mistakes that we can’t keep making,” he said.
Vandenberg substituted frequently in the first half due to the pace, but also, he said because of the mistakes he was seeing on the floor.
“I think we substituted 15 times in the first half, if not the first quarter. That’s part of why it looked a little sloppy because we rotated so much.”
Again, Holy Trinity didn’t have a single player in double figures. Raquel Schneider had nine and freshman Mary Kate Bendlage scored eight to lead the HTC.
Kassi and Natalie Randolph, and Brooke Mueller each had four points. Maria Rauenbuehler had two, while Kayla Box and Bailey Hellweg each added one on the night for HTC.
Kelley, just a freshman, led West Burlington with 17 points, mostly in transition, with 12 in the second half. Sophomore McKenna Marlow had 12 points and Sydney Marlow had 10.
HTC hosts Danville Tuesday night and then the girls travel to Central Lee on Friday night.