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Crusaders fall 66-57 to Trailblazers

Crusaders fall 66-57 to Trailblazers

December 7th, 2018 by Greg Jackson in Sports Prep

The Helias Crusaders stole the lead at halftime. The Father Tolton Trailblazers took it right back early in the third quarter and never gave it back.

The Trailblazers opened the second half on a 13-4 run and overcame a hot start to the fourth by the Crusaders to claim a 66-57 win Thursday at Rackers Fieldhouse.

"We played a pretty good game," Helias coach Joe Rothweiler said. "We did a lot of things we needed to do, we just didn't make the plays down the stretch, and Tolton did."

Helias used just six players in the game. Marcus Anthony, the Crusaders' 6-foot-2 junior guard, sat on the bench with a knee injury.

"We've been playing with a short bench all season," Rothweiler said. "We have a few guys that are knocking on the door right now and are almost ready to jump in and play some minutes."

The Crusaders had strong finishes to each quarter in the first half.

Nick Brandt took a kick-out pass and drained a 3-pointer with :06 left in the first quarter to give the Crusaders a 16-11 lead. In the second, Ben Cooper completed a three-point play in the final minute, then Colby LeCuru got a friendly roll on a 3 with :11 left.

LeCuru's 3 gave Helias a 24-23 lead at halftime.

Helias finished 9-of-28 from 3-point range. LeCuru and Jake VanLoo each made four 3s, but the rest of the team finished 1-of-15.

"We're not worried about taking 28 3s," Rothweiler said. "Typically, we hit more than that, and we've got some shooters. A lot of them went in and out tonight."

The Crusaders, ranked No. 10 in Class 4, went the first 7:20 of the second quarter without a field goal. The Trailblazers, ranked No. 7 in Class 3, took a 23-18 lead during that drought.

"We definitely felt like we should've been ahead by more at half," Rothweiler said, "and that's after a 6-0 run to end the half. We were very pleased with the way we played in the first half, everywhere except knocking down shots."

Nate Schwartze scored off an in-bounds play with 6:55 left in the third quarter to give the Trailblazers the lead. Tolton extended its advantage to 36-28 a little more than two minutes later.

By the end of the third, the Crusaders were down 42-36.

Josh Kliethermes scored a three-point play on the opening possession of the fourth. After Xavier Sykes made 1-of-2 free throws, Kliethermes added a layup on a pass from Sykes to tie the game at 42 with 6:17 to play.

"Josh battled, he had a good game," Rothweiler said.

Tolton retook the lead on a reverse layup by Beau Washer on the ensuing possession and held that lead the rest of the way. The Trailblazers had a pair of crucial 3s from Coban Porter and Deuce Tatum in the final 3:07 to begin to pull away.

It was a balanced scoring effort for both teams. Kliethermes, LeCuru and VanLoo each had 12 points for Helias, while Sykes added 10 points.

For Tolton (4-1), Schwartze, Tatum and Jevon Porter each scored 13 points. Washer added 12 points.

"Tolton was balanced," Rothweiler said. "Man, in that fourth quarter, they hit some huge shots."

Helias (2-2) plays Tuesday at Republic. The JV game starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 7 p.m.

In the JV game, Helias won 59-56 to improve to 2-0. Joe Rembecki led the Crusaders with 20 points, while Damon Johanns and Jeff Szumigala finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

In the freshman game, Helias won 58-38 to improve to 3-1. Christian Prasad had a team-high 14 points for the Crusaders.

The Helias freshman team also won 46-22 on Wednesday against Hannibal in the Mexico freshman tournament. Prasad had 11 points and Max Marberry finished with 10. Helias will play in the tournament championship game at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.