SIOUX CITY – Bishop Heelan’s strong second half defensive effort keyed its Missouri River Conference girls basketball win over Sioux City West on Saturday.

The Crusaders outscored the Wolverines 37-22 in the final 16 minutes to earn a 81-67 victory at West High.

While Heelan shot over 50 percent in the second half (15 of 29), the host Wolverines connected just seven times in 31 attempts after taking a 45-44 lead at intermission.

“It was key to the game’s outcome was the start of the third quarter,” said Heelan coach Darron Koolstra. “We kind of felt that West made a lot of shots in the first half and that they were kind of getting tired and when you’re tired you start missing shots. That was kind of the difference in the game was that first three or four minutes in the second half.”

Heelan (2-0) scored on its first three second half possessions in taking the lead for good, getting two buckets from Ella Skinner and one from Katelyn Stanley.

The Crusaders, who nursed a 59-53 lead after three quarters, withstood a short scoring drought in the frame because West shot just 3-of-17 in the frame from the field.

“We countered in the second half, any time they threw a punch at us we scored,” said Koolstra.

“Skinner, a 5-9 sophomore, was one of three Crusaders in double figures with 19 points while Stanley, a 5-7 sophomore, had 15 and Sydney Pratt, another sophomore, 12 off the bench.

West, suffering its first loss of the young season, would cut the deficit to three at 59-56 on a three-pointer from Hallie Dicus to begin the fourth quarter. Stanley, though, would answer right back, with a three-pointer of her own, one of four in the final frame as the Crusaders went 10-for-21 from three-point range in the win.

While Heelan shot over 50 percent from the field in the game (31 for 61), West’s poor second half left them at 39 percent in the contest (25 of 63).

Carly Knutson-Kobold, one of four senior starters for the Wolverines (3-1), led the way with 21 points, but 13 of those came in a free-willing first quarter that saw the hosts lead 30-26 after eight minutes of play.

Andrea Vazquez, the lone non-senior in the starting five, added 13 points and 12 rebounds while Sydney Edwards chipped in 12 points off the bench for coach Betsy Boetger’s club.

West continues its busy stretch and will play its fourth game in eight days when it visits North on Monday. Heelan, meanwhile, plays its third consecutive MRAC game to begin the season when it faces Sergeant Bluff-Luton on Tuesday.

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