SERGEANT BLUFF – The reward following Friday night’s victory for the Sergeant Bluff-Luton boys basketball team was a much deserved day off.
The Warriors, hitting a season-high 13 3-pointers, including 11 in the first half, handed Bishop Heelan a 71-65 Missouri River Conference setback on its home floor on Friday.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton pushed its win streak to a season-best four games, moving above the .500 mark at 10-9 for the first time in 2018 and more importantly will get some much needed rest with just two weeks left in the regular season.
The Crusaders, meanwhile, fell to 9-8 overall and 6-4 in the MRAC, suffering their fourth straight loss, three of them by two possessions or less.
“We actually get a few days off now which is nice we don’t play again until next Friday,” said Sergeant Bluff-Luton coach Adam Vander Schaaf. “It’s very big, the boys just informed me that apparently this is the first Saturday I have given them off this season. So, I didn’t know that, so I guess that’s good they earned it.”
The Warriors hit six 3-pointers, and one 2-pointer, in the first quarter, taking a 20-16 lead after eight minutes. The hosts, hitting double figure three-pointers for the seventh time this season, hit five more in the second quarter and went into the locker room with a 39-28 advantage.
Conner Groves hit six 3-pointers, five in the first half and finished with 22 points, one of three Sergeant Bluff-Luton players in double figures. Daniel Wright hit four 3s and chipped in 14 points and Jeremiah Khat had 12.
“That was nuts,” said Vander Schaaf. “Once they got it rolling they just kept shooting and we were enjoying it. They were on fire, I don’t know how many 2’s we had in the first half, maybe one or two (actually three), I think they were almost all 3s.
“That was a huge part in the game to get out to a lead, our guys were letting it fly.”
Heelan, playing its fifth game in eight days in what we become a six-game-in-nine-day stretch after Saturday’s road trip to Carroll Kuemper, clawed its way back to four points late in the game, but could not get it down to a one possession contest.
“When they make 11 3s in the first half I don’t know what more you can do besides making sure they bounce the basketball and get into people a little more,” said Heelan coach Andy Foster. “We couldn’t find the bottom of the net and they came out with some fire, our guys did too, but it just wasn’t enough.
“The energy was matched, it was just they made 3s on us. We couldn’t make 3s and they were able to make 11 in the first half, that’s 11 extra points.”
Elijah Hazekamp, who missed Thursday’s loss to West with the flu, tallied 23 points for a Heelan team that has suffered six of its eight losses by six or fewer points. Colin Kasperbauer had 16 points and Bryce Reynolds 10 in the loss.
“We knew if we could just get some deflections, some steals in the press we could capitalize on the back-side,” said Foster. “We were so close a handful of times, it’s the same old story, we’re just so close. This has been six games that were so close, something’s got to give.”
Heelan still has three games left following Saturday’s test with Carroll Kuemper, who was 9-7 heading into Friday’s game at Shenandoah. The Crusaders travel to Sioux Falls Roosevelt on Tuesday before closing the season with MRAC games against Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton, playing its final home game, has just two games left in the regular season over the final two weeks, road tests with Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson and South Sioux City.