SIOUX CITY | Three-pointers were raining in from the rafters at ‘The Pit’ Tuesday night.
Bishop Heelan and Sergeant Bluff-Luton combined to drain 20 shots from beyond the arc in Heelan’s 61-57 boys basketball victory over the Warriors.
It was the season opener for Heelan, expected to be one of the top teams in Iowa Class 3A this winter. Sergeant Bluff-Luton, meanwhile, suffered its first loss after three wins to open the new campaign.
“Boy, we had a lot of threes in the air didn’t we?,” said Heelan Coach Andy Foster. “Some were falling so it was nice to see that, but so were theirs. I think they deserve more love than they’re getting, they’re a talented crew,
“The fact that it was our first game made me a little leery. I knew that we were very capable but we needed a game under our belts. (SB-L Coach Adam) Vander Schaaf is good, he knows where to set his guys up and who has to have the ball and shoot the ball. I tip my hat to those guys, I’m just grateful my guys responded down the stretch.”
University of North Dakota commit Elijah Hazekamp put up a double-double for Heelan with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Crusaders were 9-for-18 from beyond the arc while SB-L splashed 11 of 25.
Brenden Roder tacked on 14 points, hitting four treys, while Jackson Boever and Colin Kasperbauer contributed nine points apiece.
Four of five starters reached double figures for the Warriors, led by Jeremiah Khat with 18 points. Conner Groves added 13 points and Sam DeMoss and Daniel Wright 11 points each.
Roder scored his team’s first nine points – all on 3-pointers – and Hazekamp hit a shot at the buzzer to give Heelan an 18-17 lead after one quarter. The Crusaders stretched their lead to 34-27 at halftime of the swiftly played contest, but SB-L drew even on a 3-pointer by Khat and took a 42-41 lead on a Groves bucket with just over three minutes left in the third quarter.
Groves scored again with 1:07 left, giving his team a 47-45 lead, but Kasperbauer, Bryce Reynolds and Hazekamp made buckets to close the quarter, putting Heelan in front 51-47. Each team tallied 10 points in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors weren’t able to draw any closer than three points. Heelan’s Tommy Schiltz hit a big 3-pointer at the midway point, making it 57-51.
“I think fatigue may have become a factor for them, they missed a couple threes short late in the fourth quarter,” Foster said. “We were able to capitalize and get some open floor looks off of that and I think we’re most fun to watch in the open floor.”
The game was fast-paced throughout and Sergeant Bluff-Luton Coach Adam Vander Schaaf admitted that took its toll on his team.
“We were tired by the end, no question about it” Vander Schaaf said. “I think both teams were a little fatigued by that point but you could see it in our legs on our jumpers that we were a little tired.
“It was an entertaining game. I think that Heelan is an excellent team but I’m glad we came out and competed. We gave up way too many offensive rebounds at critical times when we could have kept it a little closer or taken the lead, but they’re good going to the block."
SB-L's Khat nailed four threes while DeMoss and Wright made three each.
Heelan plays at North Friday and Sergeant Bluff-Luton hosts Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln.