Helias pulls away late for 40-29 victory against Battle

The offense of the Helias Lady Crusaders is often at its best when it goes from the inside-out.

The Lady Crusaders got that portion of their game going in the fourth quarter Monday night and used it to pull away to a 40-29 victory against the Battle Lady Spartans at Rackers Fieldhouse.

“That was big,” Helias coach Doug Light said. “Plus we were better in other parts of our game, we were limiting them to one shot and we were getting the 50-50 balls we weren’t getting in the first three quarters.”

The Lady Crusaders, who held a 27-24 lead heading into the final period, got a big fourth quarter from its two post players. Darcy Baird and Mai Nienhueser combined to score 11 of Helias’ 13 points in the quarter.

“With our size inside, that has to be a big part of our game,” Light said.

The Lady Crusaders, who led by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter, looked like they were going to cruise to an easy victory early. Helias led 9-0 five minutes into the game before Battle scored the final five points of the first quarter to cut the deficit to four heading into the second period.

“They have some talent out there, we knew we’d have our hands full,” Light said. “We knew they’d make a run at us.”

The two teams swapped points during the second and third quarters. Battle got as close as three points on four occasions in the middle quarters, including the 27-24 count heading into the final period.

“They made a couple of good runs at us, but somebody either answered offensively or defensively to keep us in the lead,” Light said. “And it wasn’t just one or two kids, we had several step up and do that for us.

“That’s our strength, we have a lot of kids who can do that.”

The Lady Crusaders maintained their lead on the strength of their outside game. Helias was 6-of-9 on 3-pointers through the first three quarters, led by a 3-of-5 performance by Kelsi Bernskoetter.

Bernskoetter finished with 12 points to pace Helias, while Nienhueser totaled 10. Baird finished with a game-high eight rebounds for the Lady Crusaders, who had seven players with at least three boards.

“We were scrapping for the ball,” Light said.

Cheyanna Weaver had 11 points to lead Battle (2-4).

Helias (3-1) is back in action Friday at Rolla in its final game before the State Farm Holiday Classic, to be played Dec. 27-29 at Rackers Fieldhouse.

In Monday’s junior varsity game, Helias was a 48-12 winner against Battle. Ashley Rehagen finished with 12 points for the Lady Crusaders (4-0).

In a freshman game Monday, Helias defeated Battle 45-24. Elliot Hollingsworth and Claire Ludwig had 10 points each for the Lady Crusaders.

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