Gehling, Rung combine on game-winner in Shootout

Crusaders knock off WACO in No. 2 battle at SCC

WEST BURLINGTON — Holy Trinity’s boys basketball team was built for the closing moments of Saturday’s SEI Superconference Shootout game against WACO at Loren Walker Arena.
Down by six points with 3 ½ minutes to go, the Crusaders scored seven, the last coming on Conner Gehling’s layup with two seconds left, to take a 54-53 win.
Holy Trinity (15-4) extended its winning streak to seven games by making one final run against the Warriors (14-5).
“This year, we’re battle-tested, and I think it showed there at the end of the game,” Holy Trinity coach John Hellige said. “Huge win for us.”
WACO led 53-47 after Reece Oswald’s 3-pointer, but wouldn’t get another point against the Crusaders. And when Holy Trinity forced a shot-clock violation with 15 seconds left, there was one last opportunity.
After a timeout, the Crusaders worked the ball inside, testing the defense against Luke Hellige, who was double-teamed. Hellige passed the ball out front, and Maddox Rung was able to deliver the perfect bounce pass to Gehling along the baseline.
Gehling sped right past WACO’s Connor Leichty for the layup he called “the biggest shot of my life.”
“Once I caught it baseline, I knew I had an opening to go right, and I just took it,” Gehling said. “Great bounce pass from Maddox there, all credit to him. And then I just got up and scored.
“I saw some bodies go up with me, so I tried to elevate over them and finish, and I did.”
“We were trying to get something down low to Luke or Conner there, and the ball found Conner’s hands, and he made a great shot to win it,” John Hellige said.
WACO led by seven points midway through the second quarter, by four at the end of the third quarter, and seemed to be in control after a 3-pointer from Clayton Miller with 4:10 to play, followed by the Oswald three.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Gehling said. “They’re going to make runs, so we’ve got to get our own runs too. We’ve got to get some stops, too, and I think that’s what we did there at the end.”
“Sometimes this team forgets that it's 14-4, 15-4,” Hellige said. “I’m like, ‘Guys, we have to play with poise and confidence out there.’ I think we showed at the end of this game that we’ve become a veteran team, a poised and confident team.”
Gehling led the Crusaders with 24 points. Luke Hellige had 16 points, and Rung had nine.
WACO’s defense was concentrating on Hellige, who averages 23.4 points.
“Luke’s an amazing player, an all-star type player,” Gehling said. “Once Luke is double-teamed or whatever, all of us have to step up as a team, and we did that tonight.”
Conner Gehling, basketball, SEISC, Southeast iowa Superconference shootout, boys, varsity, Pen City Current, Crusaders, Holy Trinity Catholic,


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