BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – There was one more regular-season lesson left for Holy Trinity’s young boys basketball team on Tuesday night, and it came from the SEI Superconference South Division champions.
New London took a 75-35 win over the Crusaders at Shottenkirk Gym by taking control of the game early.
It’s something Holy Trinity coach John Hellige hopes that his team has learned this season.
“We talk about that, the toughness level of our team, the physicality,” Hellige said “I think our kids know what they need to do. Now it’s just a matter of building some muscle in the offseason and being a tougher, stronger team.”
New London (18-2 overall, 15-1 South Division) shook off the Crusaders to start the second quarter. Holy Trinity (6-15, 5-11) was within 21-15 when the Tigers scored 10 consecutive points in 1 1/2 minutes, then closed the quarter with a 7-2 run to lead 39-17 at halftime.
That lead grew to 49-19 just two minutes into the third quarter.
“We just never really seemed to find our groove,” Hellige said. “I thought we had a good game plan coming in to control tempo. And when we did that, we did some nice things. We just weren’t able to execute out of that controlled tempo. Just made some errant passes out of that early.
“There’s just an intimidation factor there right now with New London that we haven’t been able to get over. Just learn from it.”
Conner Gehling led the Crusaders with 14 points.
“It just really wasn’t our night overall. We just didn’t play well,” Hellige said.
The Crusaders open Class 1A district play next Monday at Hillcrest Academy.
“We’ll prepare for them, and hopefully we can make a little run here in the postseason,” Hellige said.