Lady Crusaders blast Southeast, 67-35

At the State Farm Holiday Hoops Invitational

What a difference a day makes.

On Friday, the Helias Lady Crusaders went scoreless for 14 minutes in dropping their State Farm Holiday Hoops Invitational opener to Blue Springs South.

In the first 14 minutes Saturday, the Lady Crusaders scored 38 points and then rolled to a 67-35 victory in a loser’s bracket contest against the Southeast (Oklahoma City, Okla.) Lady Spartans at Rackers Fieldhouse.

“We told our kids they needed to forget Friday, it was a different day,” Helias coach Doug Light said. “And they did. They were bright-eyed and ready to go.

“That’s the great thing about a tournament, you get a chance to get right back at it.”

Light could see it was a new day during Saturday morning’s shoot-around.

“They knew it was over, they were ready to get onto the next one,” he said. “We didn’t want Friday’s game to beat us (Saturday) and it didn’t.”

Helias never trailed in the game. It was tied at 5 when the Lady Crusaders went on a 16-0 run in a four-minute span midway through the first quarter on their way to a 24-13 advantage after the period.

A pair of 3-pointers by Ashley Rehagen sparked Helias in the opening minute of the second quarter. The freshman hit another pair in the final minute of the half as she finished with five in the quarter.

“She took full advantage of her opportunities,” Light said.

Helias finished with eight 3-pointers in the game, all in the first half, which ended with the Lady Crusaders holding a 46-20 lead.

“We thought after watching them Friday, we’d probably have some open looks from out there,” Light said.

The Invitational single-game records of eight 3-pointers by an individual and 13 by a team were well within reach, but Light said he wasn’t going to chase the record book in the final two quarters.

“We wanted to give some kids the opportunity to play, they work hard and they deserve it,” he said. “They need minutes and quality playing time.”

Helias led 63-30 after three quarters. The final period was played with a running clock as the Lady Crusaders maintained their advantage of 30-plus points.

The Lady Crusaders were strong inside as well as Darcy Baird and Mai Nienhueser combined for 31 points and 20 rebounds.

“Those two came back with confidence and played a lot better,” Light said.

Rehagen finished with 18 points for Helias (5-2), while Baird had 16 and Nienhueser totaled 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Southeast (0-5), which was just 3-of-17 from the free-throw line, was led by Treasure Gordon, who came off the bench to score 11 points.

Helias will face Eureka in the fifth-place game at 3 p.m. today at Rackers Fieldhouse. After falling to Hickman on Friday, Eureka topped Fatima 51-47 in overtime in Saturday’s first game.

“They will battle you, they’ve been in two tough games in this tournament,” Light said. “They are well-coached and it will make us better to play them.”

Southeast will take on Fatima in the seventh-place game at 1:30 p.m. today.

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