Lady Crusaders kept busy over long break

When the Helias Lady Crusaders hit the court tonight, it will be their first game in more than two weeks.

There are better ways to start the basketball postseason than an extended break. But it is what it is.

“You just take it in stride,” Helias coach Doug Light said as the Lady Crusaders get set to face the Mexico Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals of the Class 4 District 8 Tournament at 7:30 p.m. at Mexico High School. “If you think of it as something that will adversely effect you, it will. If you don’t, it won’t.

“Our kids have taken it as a chance to get more preparation.”

Helias (17-7) didn’t even know it would play Mexico until the Lady Bulldogs defeated the Marshall Lady Owls on Thursday night.

“We just worked on a lot of fundamental stuff, drills to make you better no matter who you play,” Light said.

The Lady Crusaders can draw on postseason success. Helias has won two straight district titles.

“We have players who have been in these situations, some of them twice,” Light said. “Our kids understand if they’re nervous, the kids on the other team are nervous as well.”

Senior guard Taylor Hagenhoff leads the Lady Crusaders at 15.1 points and 4.5 assists per game. Senior forward Bre Zanders is next at 12.6 points while topping the team at 7.3 rebounds.

Helias is the No. 2 seed in the tournament behind Kirksville (21-1).

“I don’t think we could rationalize anything but Kirksville as the No. 1 seed,” Light said. “They’ve lost just one game, you deserve the No. 1 seed if the No. 2 team has seven losses.”

Kirksville’s lone loss was a 53-43 decision to Cameron in a holiday tournament.

Helias and Mexico have played this season, with the Lady Crusaders taking a 56-45 decision on the road Jan. 19.

The girls district championship game is set for 5 p.m. Saturday.

The District 8 winner will face the District 7 champion Wednesday in the Class 4 sectionals at Troy High School. Game time is 7:45 p.m.

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