Bendlage pours in 24 as Crusaders roll in season opener

Holy Trinity Catholic's Raquel Schneider (2) makes a steal from behind in the Crusaders 62-29 win over New London Tuesday night. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Holy Trinity rolls despite playing short-handed


FORT MADISON – Mary Kate Bendlage scored Holy Trinity’s first points of the season with a layup.
Now, in a 62-29 win, it may not appear to be a big deal.
But it was to Crusaders’ coach Tony Johnson.
“Honestly, last year, it seems like we always missed that first layup, and get behind the 8-ball, we give up eight points before we would we score,” Johnson said. “I thought, man, if we could get the first points…”
The Crusaders got the first points and many more in Tuesday’s season-opening win over New London.
The offensive pains from last season were an education the Crusaders have taken into this season, and it was clear this is a deeper team with more experience.
Bendlage, a sophomore, led Holy Trinity with 24 points. Senior Raquel Schneider had 10 points, Junior Kayla Box had seven, and freshman Teagan Snaadt had six.

Holy Trinity’s Anna Bendlage (24) defends against a New London Tiger in Tuesday night’s season-opener at Shottenkirk Gymnasium in Fort Madison. The Crusaders won 69-29, including a 23-2 3rd quarter run to start the year at 1-0. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

That’s a balance throughout the classes.
Holy Trinity’s pressure defense was a constant grind on the Tigers. The Crusaders opened the game with a 10-1 run — Bendlage had six in that opening spurt — and led 34-20 at halftime.
“The effort was out of the gym,” Johnson said. “We really worked hard.”
Holy Trinity then outscored New London 23-2 in the third quarter, leading to a running clock in the fourth quarter.
“Teams don’t like the press,” Johnson said. “We don’t like it. I know nobody else likes it. And when you do it for 32 minutes, it wears on you.”
The Crusaders went 10 deep in the game, and there didn’t seem to be a drop-off. Eight players scored.
Holy Trinity scored 60 points or more only once last season. The maturity and the depth played a big role to start this year.
“We’re still trying to figure out rotations, things like that,” Johnson said. “We’ve been preaching defense, and that’s because our offense can come from our defense with our transition game. I thought we did a lot of things well tonight, and everything we did incorrectly, we can fix.”

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