Lady Crusaders winning while finding identity

BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
PCC SPORTS

FORT MADISON – It was like the season opener all over again for the Holy Trinity girls basketball team.
The result was the same for the Crusaders — a big win.
Holy Trinity’s 55-30 win over WACO on Tuesday was the Crusaders’ first game in a week that included time off for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Plus, Kassi and Natalie Randolph were back with the team after missing the season opener.
So, coach Tony Johnson was back to mixing and matching players, trying to find the right combinations.
“We’re still searching for certain groups,” Johnson said. “Sometimes you have groups that don’t work well together, and then you take one player out and put another in and it works great. We’re still trying to figure out who works well together and meshes well.”
The different combinations worked well enough for Holy Trinity (2-0), which opened the season with a 62-29 win over New London last Tuesday.
“We didn’t even really talk about that game,” Johnson said. “With the time off for the holiday, it just seemed like a long time ago.”
The Crusaders led for all but the first 2:08 of this game. They trailed 2-0 before Mary Kate Bendlage hit a 3-pointer, and then never trailed again. The lead was double digits for the rest of the game after the 4:30 mark of the second quarter.
Bendlage, who had 24 points in the opener, had 14 in this game to lead Holy Trinity.  Brooke Mueller and Raquel Schneider each had nine points.
“We’re making our points on defense now,” Johnson said. “We’re getting open looks, we’re getting good shots. The offense will come eventually, the more you work with it.
“The easiest way to get on the floor right now is defense and rebounding, because the offense will catch up.”
The Crusaders play Friday at Cardinal and Saturday at Mediapolis, still a work in progress but still winning.
“Win by one or 50, it’s still a win,” Johnson said. “We’ll take it at this point, and keep working to get better.”

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