SIOUX CITY -- After a neck-and-neck first quarter, Bishop Heelan peeled away from the Le Mars boys for a win Tuesday.
LCS Coach Dave Irwin said he was happy with the Bulldogs' effort for the night.
"We competed," he said. "We had been down 20 points and made a nice run and got it to 10."
That Bulldog run, fueled by LCS' Jake Irwin, came at the start of the fourth quarter, after a powerful third quarter for Heelan stretched the gap between the two teams.
Tuesday's game started out close with never more than a three-point spread between the Bulldogs and the No. 6 Crusaders in the first quarter.
The boys were nearly basket-for-basket all quarter.
It was tied at 11-11 with less than 1:30 to go in the first quarter, but Bishop Heelan pulled ahead before the buzzer, 15-13.
In the second quarter, the Crusaders (4-2) began pulling away, building a seven point lead before Coach Irwin called a timeout. The Bulldogs came out and shortened the gap back to five, but the Crusaders answered back with a basket to make it 22-15 with four minutes to go.
Heelan started turning up the heat on the Bulldogs, making it an 11-point lead for the Crusaders, 27-16 with two minutes left before the half.
LCS stayed in it, and a pair of free throws by Kyle Dolph made it 29-20 before halftime.
In the third quarter, Heelan was hot, keeping their lead in double figures with several threes in a row.
"We've just got to do a better job of stopping runs," Irwin said. "We allowed them to get an eight or 10 point run on us on a couple of occasions, and I think we forced a few things during those runs. Good team defense can stop those runs early."
Heelan stretched their lead to 40-25 with three minutes left to go in the third and continued to score.
With 25 seconds left to go, the score was 45-25, and the LCS coach called a timeout.
Before the buzzer, two Bulldog free throws added to LCS' score, and Colin Borchers blocked a Heelan's last-second scoring attempt, keeping it 45-27 going into the final quarter.
LCS pounded into the fourth quarter with Jake Irwin's straight eight points, making it a 10-point game at 45-35, Heelan.
The Crusaders answered back with four swift points to bring their lead to 14 points.
The Bulldogs cut it back to a 13-point Heelan lead, 53-40, with four minutes to go.
Heelan scored three more before LCS put its final two points up on the board, two free throws from Tanner Anthony.
The 'Dogs kept Heelan from scoring for the last 1:15, but Heelan had the game wrapped up.
"We learned a little bit tonight and we'll get better. We'll learn how to attack their zone a little better and move forward," Irwin said. "After our effort on Saturday (at Sioux Center), this was much, much better."
Heelan senior Shane Graves led scoring with 21 points for the Crusaders. Senior Kyle Heaton added another 17. Their next scorer was junior Keaton Slaughter with six points.
Leading for LCS, Jake Irwin scored 15 points, including the pair of threes and a two-point field goal to open up the fourth quarter for the Bulldogs.
Kyle Dolph added another eight points for LCS and Anthony scored six.
The 'Dogs went 7-for-11 from the free throw line, and Heelan went 5-of-10 from the stripe.
On rebounds for LCS, Anthony pulled down four and Jake Irwin had three for the night.
The Bulldogs' record drops to 4-3 heading into a home game Friday with Cherokee before the Christmas break.