John Bohnenkamp for Pen City Current Sports
FORT MADISON - John Hellige challenged his Holy Trinity boys basketball team after Tuesday’s loss at Notre Dame.
The Crusaders responded with back-to-back wins, including Friday’s 63-40 victory over Van Buren County at Shottenkirk Gymnasium.
Holy Trinity (7-12 overall, 4-9 SEI Superconference South Division) took control of the game in the second half by outscoring the Warriors (4-13, 2-11) 36-23.
“That was probably our best second half of the year,” Hellige said. “Especially defensively — everyone was super-solid. They did the things a good team needs to do to win, so I’m just proud of how we’re developing.”
Holy Trinity was smarting after the 54-42 loss at Notre Dame, but came back to post a 54-48 win at Wapello on Thursday, then added this victory.
Luke Hellige led Holy Trinity with 22 points, and Conner Gehling added 18. But the Crusaders also got 12 points from freshman Layne Rung, who provided some momentum late in the first half.
Holy Trinity had surrendered an early lead when Van Buren went on a 10-0 run late in the second quarter. But the Crusaders responded with an 11-0 run over the final 2 minutes, 5 seconds, with the last nine points coming on three 3-pointers from Rung.
“This team all year, it’s been kind of Luke and Conner, and we’ve been waiting for that third wheel to step up and hit some big shots,” Hellige said. “All of our guys are capable of doing that, and any of them can do it on a given night. So it’s just neat to see a shooter like Layne as a freshman hit those shots, and it’s kind of neat to think what kind of future he can have.”
Holy Trinity kept the double-digit lead throughout the second half. Van Buren crept to within 51-38 with 3:40 to play, but Rung answered with a 3-pointer, starting a 12-2 run to end the game.
“I thought this was just a good win,” Hellige said. “We started the game strong, had that little roller-coaster ride in the second quarter, then finished with our best half of the year. It’s a good sign for us.”
Jackson Manning was the only Van Buren player scoring in double figures, finishing with 15 points.
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