Crusaders oust Huskies
Isaac Newton’s Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The district tournament game at Lone Tree High School played between the Highland Huskies and Holy Trinity Crusaders was a perfect example of how in sports as well, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When all the action ceased, Highland’s season had ended at the hands of the Crusaders by a score of 62 – 53.
Highland started out the action in the first quarter with an effective full-court press that made Holy Trinity look lost on the offensive end at times. The Huskies were able to take advantage of that by getting good looks from 3-point range and build a 20 – 11 lead by the end of the first quarter. As previously stated, however, there was an equal and opposite reaction coming.
“We rely a lot on our defense to create our offense because we like to push the basketball. I thought our intensity was good throughout the game. It was a point of emphasis for us to press up and not give them open looks at the 3-point line because that’s what they like to do,” Highland head coach Marcus Hall said.
The Crusaders went on a 12 – 4 run fueled by renewed effort on the glass and dribble-drive offense to start the second quarter. Holy Trinity got the Highland lead down to 24 – 23 with 3:23 remaining in the first half. The Huskies were able to continue to hit from long range well enough to maintain a lead and took their 31 – 28 advantage into the locker room.
“You can look at a stat sheet and it looks like you’ve outplayed a team but rebounding can be a great equalizer. We had a few lapses and gave up a few offensive rebounds,” Hall added.
The momentum that the Crusaders had begun to build boiled over in the third quarter and pushed Holy Trinity up and over Highland, giving the Crusaders a 46 – 36 lead with 2:20 left in the third quarter. The Huskies began with their own reaction from that point, going on a 5 – 2 run to end the quarter with the score being 48 – 41, Holy Trinity leading.
Highland kept rolling on that momentum to start the fourth quarter and was able to get a steal and free throw from sophomore Nick Sandburg with 6:24 remaining in the game to cut the Crusader lead to 51 – 48. A jump ball on a miss by Sandburg went the way of the Huskies and senior Chris Ford hit a corner 3 to tie the game at 51 with 6:13 remaining.
“I was proud of the way we fought back from down 12 to taking a lead. We just weren’t consistent enough on defense. Against a team that can shoot like they can, you can’t afford those lapses,” Hall commented.
The two teams would trade baskets for the next 2 1/2 minutes until Holy Trinity’s defense was able to create two key turnovers and capitalize off them on their own offensive end. From there it was simply a matter of hitting their free throws for the Crusaders. Highland finishes the season at 13 – 8.
“It’s tough to see our four seniors go. They were a big part of turning this program around. I’m excited about our incoming players, though. We have about six or seven guards that will make us a perimeter-oriented but deep team with several quality players,” Hall explained.