SERGEANT BLUFF – Amber Aesoph has enjoyed individual success in cross country and track for Bishop Heelan.
The sophomore, a two-time state cross country medalist, came through on the basketball court Friday night while lifting the Crusaders to a big 75-62 Missouri River Conference basketball win over Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
Aesoph, normally a defensive stopper in Heelan’s lineup, made her second start of the season and came away with a career-high 24 points, her first career game in double figures. Aesoph, who also had nine rebounds, entered the game averaging four points a game.
“She’s so athletic, she can run forever,” said Heelan coach Darron Koolstra. “I don’t think she ever gets tired. She is really good in our defensive schemes, just very athletic kid.”
More importantly, Heelan takes the upper hand in the MRAC conference race heading into the final week of the regular season.
The Crusaders, now 7-2 in the MRAC, has league games left on Thursday at Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson and Saturday at home against Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln. That all comes after a non-conference affair on Monday against fifth-ranked (B) South Sioux City.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton, meanwhile, falls to 8-3 in the MRAC and closes its league slate at Thomas Jefferson on Monday.
“It’s been huge (this week),” said Koolstra. “You got to look at our regular season schedule, it is preparing us for games like this.”
Heelan, leading by one at halftime, held the Warriors scoreless for over four minutes in the third quarter, going on a 10-0 run. That run allowed the visitors to take a double digit lead and the lead never got below nine the rest of the game.
“I just think we came out flat and that we didn’t execute well,” said Sergeant Bluff-Luton coach Miranda Riediger. “We definitely hurt ourselves tonight a lot of the time. They were unforced turnovers, it was ourselves. It was a frustrating game.”
Katelyn Stanley, a sophomore, chipped in 16 points and senior Maycen Schueth had 13 for a Heelan team that shot 27 for 48 in the contest, for 56.3 percent.
“We shared the ball and had a lot of contributors,” said Koolstra. “We executed the game plan. They’re missing a key component to their team that hurts. We have to give our kids a lot of credit, they played awfully well ass a team, everybody that came in contributed.”
Anna Lucas, a 5-10 senior, led Sergeant Bluff-Luton with a career-high 24 points, her first game over 20 since her sophomore year. Lucas hit six 3-pointers, but overall the Warriors struggled from the field hitting 24 of 60 shots and 8 of 23 3-pointers.
“It was just a strange night for us,” said Riediger. “It just wasn’t clicking, defensively we were on our heels. We were bailing them out and putting them on the foul line.”
Aesoph opened the second half with back-to-back steals that she converted into layups. The Crusaders scored 17 points off the Warriors 20 turnovers in the game.
“We had a tough game last night with West,” said Koolstra. “We play a lot of kids, they are very athletic, multi-sport kids. They excel in more sports than just one. It says a lot about these kids that they can go two nights in a row.”
Abby Wisecup contributed 13 points and Kenzie Foley 11 for Sergeant Bluff-Luton, playing its fourth straight game without senior post Kylee Christensen.