SIOUX CITY -- The Le Mars Community girls battled hard and stayed in the game with No. 1 Bishop Heelan in the Crusader's 56-46 win Tuesday.
With six minutes to go in the non-conference game, the girls were tied up, but Heelan made some shots to run away with the win.
"We were kind of back and forth in the fourth quarter. Heelan just made a few more plays down the stretch, and we just couldn't get the one big, key stop that we needed at that crucial moment," LCS girls coach Judd Kopperud said. "But playing the No. 1 team in the state on their home floor and you give yourself a chance in the end; you can't ask for much more than that."
LCS (2-6) started out in pace with the Crusaders (7-1), keeping it at a two-point game by the end of the first quarter, with Heelan leading 11-9.
The Crusaders stretched their lead in the second to eight points, with the halftime score of 24-16, Heelan.
The Bulldogs wouldn't let go, holding the Crusaders to eight points in the third quarter. LCS closed the gap to four going into the final stanza, with Heelan ahead 32-28.
"We were right there with them, and I'm proud of the girls tonight," Kopperud said.
The Crusaders put together a 24-point final quarter to take the win, while LCS scored 18.
"It was a hard-fought game, and both teams really battled," Kopperud said. "Our kids played very well tonight and we were extremely proud of their effort, the way they executed and followed the game plan. They played their hearts out tonight."
LCS senior Molly Renken recorded 20 points to lead all scoring for the night.
"She has strung together a few nice games in the row and is really finding her groove," Kopperud said. "She played really well tonight."
Senior Mary Kate Eckstaine contributed another eight points for the 'Dogs.
For Heelan, senior MaKayla Augustine led with 18 points and junior Jenna Bork had 15 for the Crusaders.
Leading LCS in rebounds, senior Ashley Phelan pulled down 10 boards. Senior Carolyn Ahlers added another seven.
Senior Emily Ellefson logged five steals against the Crusaders and Eckstaine made seven assists for the night.
LCS next hosts Cherokee at home Friday before the Christmas break.
The LCS coach gave a shout out to the Bulldog supporters in the stands Tuesday.
"Our fans were awesome tonight," Irwin said. "They really backed us and we felt their support. We feel we have some of the best fans in the state."