Crusaders win pair of ranked battles over Le Mars
LE MARS — Bishop Heelan got the better of Le Mars Community in a pair of non-conference games between ranked teams on Thursday.
The girls game saw No. 6 Le Mars control the first half, but a 15-0 run to start the second half shook the confidence of the Lady Bulldogs and they could never quite regain their composure as they fell 65-57 to No. 15 Bishop Heelan.
“We didn’t run a good offense after the first quarter,” Le Mars Head Coach Judd Kopperud said. “We just needed to do a better job executing offensively.”
Le Mars started hot with their first three shots from beyond the arc, one from Madison Dreckman and two more from Sidney Baumgartner, going in the hoop.
Baumgartner had 14 points at half, but added just five more after halftime with those coming at the free-throw line including the game-tying shots early in the fourth quarter.
Le Mars never regained the lead, but Jenn Schneider did tie the game once more with a layup with 2:40 remaining.
Ella Skinner responded with a wide-open layup on a defensive breakdown. Heelan couldn’t add to their lead as they missed a pair of free throws, but an offensive board and putback by Skinner made it a two possession game. Shortly thereafter, the Crusaders missed another pair of free throws, but once again came up with the offensive board, effectively ending any hope for the Bulldogs.
“We can’t let that happen,” Kopperud said of Heelan getting offensive rebounds. “That was something we just can’t let happen. They played harder than we did and they wanted it more than we did. They made plays and we didn’t.”
Madison Dreckman scored 12 and Schneider ended with 11 for Le Mars.
The boys game saw a competitive game between the No. 3 Crusaders and No. 9 Bulldogs, but that wasn’t quite good enough for Le Mars Head Coach Dave Irwin as his team fell 63-55.
“Our goal wasn’t to just be competitive,” Irwin said. “Obviously we thought we had an opportunity to win and I still think if we played the way we had the previous, two or three games, I think we put ourselves in a lot better position.”
Gabe Eckstaine hit a pair of 3-pointers to give Le Mars an early lead, but Heelan took over and the Bulldogs were playing from behind most of the game.
Down by 11 midway through the third quarter, Le Mars fought back to within two points in the fourth as a Dylan Rarrat-Kass 3-pointer closed the deficit to two points at 49-47 with 3:25 remaining.
Irwin said his team just didn’t make enough shots to win.
“I didn’t think we shot with any confidence,” Irwin said. “We just shot because we thought we were supposed to shoot. When the ball goes in, that can be contagious and when guys can’t buy one, that can be contagious as well. We just had some empty possessions offensively and a number of empty defensive possessions that cost us.”
An Elijah Hazekamp old-fashioned 3-point play put the Crusaders back up by five with less than a minute to go, three of his team-best 24 points, and Heelan was able to ice the game with free throws.
Will Pottebaum led the team with 19 points while Rarrat-Kass and Eckstaine each ended with 13. JT Engebretson had eight points for the Bulldogs.